* 12 MINUTES MAX
See Stranger Suggests. This week only. On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9886. $7. Sun-Mon Dec 8-9 at 7 pm.
THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER
Bad kids overturn a church's Christmas pageant in another holiday cash cow. Bathhouse Theater, 7312 West Green Lake Dr N, 325-6500. $18 for adults; $10 for kids, students, and seniors. Thurs-Sat at 7:30 pm. Sun at 2 pm. Through Dec 29.
BLACK NATIVITY: A GOSPEL SONG PLAY
Opening. A gospel play that powers up Langston Hughes' poetry with narration and gospel songs. Back for another season of popular acclaim, if Black Nativity doesn't get you in the holiday spirit, you might as well go home and listen to Lawrence Welk. Intiman Playhouse, 201 Mercer St, 269-1900. $10-$42. Fri-Sat at 8 pm, Sun-Thurs at 7:30 pm, no performance Mon. Through Dec 28.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Schizophrenic miser haunted by his demons seeks redemption, ACT profits. (Well, everyone but the marketing staff. Can't wait to not return the calls of the new, "aggressive" PR team.) ACT Theatre, 700 Union St, 292-7660. $23-$36. Sat at 2 pm and 7 pm, Sun at 1 pm and 4 pm, Tues-Thurs at 6 pm and 8:30 pm. Through Dec 28.
* THE DINA MARTINA CHRISTMAS SHOW
Opening. The most entertaining woman in the world returns with a brand-new holiday show for a strictly limited three-week run at On the Boards. Under the resolutely perverse hand of creator Grady West, it's sure to be beautiful, hilarious, and so disturbing your skin will itch. Dina Martina at On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888. $18. Thurs-Sun at 8 pm, with additional performances Dec 20-21 at 10:30 pm. Through Dec 22.
THE FULL MONTY
Final week. The heartbreaking tale of six working-class schmucks who, down on their collective luck, are forced to barter their self-respect just to survive. Plus, whang! 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave, 625-1418. $15-$58. Thurs-Sat at 8 pm, Sun at 7:30 pm, matinees Sat-Sun at 2 pm. Through Dec 8.
HAM FOR THE HOLIDAYS V: CINCO DE PORKO
See review this issue. Northwest Asian American Theatre, 409 Seventh Ave S, 325-6500. $18-$20. Wed-Sat at 8 pm, matinees Sat-Sun at 4 pm. Through Dec 29.
Opening. Pat yourself on the back as you laugh at the fleeting enthusiasm of culture-barren train wrecks in Scott Warrender's kitschfest. Hunter Koch Productions at ACT Theatre, 700 Union St, 292-7660. $24.50-$29.50. Sat at 8 pm, Sun at 2 pm, Tues-Wed at 7:30 pm. Through Dec 29.
IT'S A WONDERFUL (ONE MAN SHOW) LIFE!
This week only. Comedian Jason Grossman presents a his schizophrenic adaptation of the Frank Capra classic. Center House Theatre, Seattle Center, 325-6500. $12. Fri-Sat at 8 pm.
LIGHT UP THE SKY
Moss Hart's 1948 self-referential deconstruction of the paradoxical nature of Broadway productions. "Light Up the Sky is a silly and utterly predictable good waste of money." (Sean Reid) Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St, 443-2210. $15-$40. Tues-Sun at 7:30 pm, with matinees Sat-Sun at 2 pm. Through Dec 15.
* THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
An old wardrobe becomes a portal, and Christ becomes a lion in this ambitious staging of C. S. Lewis' Jesus-freak classic. "My son (who is six) and I enjoyed this adaptation of C. S. Lewis' most famous book for two reasons. One, the big set pieces. We are suckers for large backdrops that move mysteriously on and off the stage, and the winter world (the best part of the book) was superbly realized. Two, the play sticks very close to the original text. With exception of one small disagreement--my son liked the songs and I didn't--we were equally pleased with the performance." (Charles Mudede) Seattle Children's Theatre, 201 Thomas St, 441-3322. $12-$26. Fri at 7 pm, Sat-Sun at 2 and 5:30 pm. Through Jan 11.
* THE LIZZIE BORDEN PLAY: A SPECULATION
"Smart, scary, and wry, this true-crime deconstruction is a breezy, bracing antidote to an overdose of high-fructose holiday cheer." (Tamara Paris) Theatre Babylon at Union Garage, 1418 10th Ave, 720-1942. $12. Thurs-Sat at 8 pm. Through Dec 21.
"While I am always happy to see new work that isn't total crap produced in local theaters, that's the best I can say for Mag Mor: It's new work and isn't terrible." (Brendan Kiley) Theater Schmeater, 1500 Summit Ave, 324-5801. $12-$15. Thurs-Sat at 8 pm, matinee Sun at 2 pm. Through Dec 21.
Final week. "Several minutes of strained if sincere admiration for quality acting (the players played well) inevitably wane into a glazy-eyed fascination for almost anything else in the room... the back of someone's head for instance. An expletive or particularly emotive moment on stage (there was one, I think) may snap one back to attention, but soon faucets start dripping and grass begins growing and yawn... you're staring at the back of someone's head again." (Adrian Ryan) Golden Fish Theatre at Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave, 728-0933. $10-$15. Thurs-Sat at 8 pm. Through Dec 7.
OWEN MEANY'S CHRISTMAS PAGEANT
Opening. Book-It returns with its evergreen John Irving adaptation, in which an ornery runt (played with gusto by local fave Stephen Hando) screams and snarls his way through a sacred celebration of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ. Safely skewed schmaltz, performed with "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown!" expressiveness by a large cast. Book-It Repertory Theatre at Seattle Center House, 305 Harrison St, 216-0877. $15-$22. Wed-Sat at 7:30 pm, Sun at 2 pm. Through Dec 22.
PSYCHIATRIST'S NIGHT OUT
See review this issue. Odd Duck Studio, 1214 10th Ave, 877-820-6312. $6-$8 general. Thurs-Sat at 8 pm. Through Dec 14.
"Even under optimal conditions--nuanced direction, strong cast, nice space--it's a difficult piece to make work. The production sacrifices the writer's examination of identity and fate (i.e., the recklessness of life) to the 'faster, louder, funnier' mantra that rules much of today's theater." (Jeff Meyers) Steeplechase Productions at Liberty Deli, 2722 Alki Ave SW, 935-8420. $29 with dinner. Fri-Sat at 6:30 pm. Through Dec 28.
SUGAR PLUM FAIRY
See review this issue. Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St, 443-2222. $32-$40. Tues-Sun at 7:30 pm, matinees Sat-Sun at 2 pm. Through Jan 12.
* A TAP DANCE CHRISTMAS CAROL
"Half 'I've got a barn' musical, half high-school talent show, A Tap Dance Christmas Carol has none of the fancy sets or well-paid actors featured in better-known local productions. But its fresh re-interpretation of the story (Scrooge is a disillusioned artist who has given up dance in favor of the life of a businessman) provides the opportunity for completely original 'Christmas Past' and 'Christmas Present' sequences-a minor miracle. Yes, Scrooge dances with Tiny Tim at the end, and I was laughing so hard tears were running down my face. Be glad it's back." (Tonnvane Wiswell) Anacrusis Modern Tap Dance at Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway Ave, 325-6500. $16-$20. Fri-Sat at 8 pm, matinees Sat-Sun at 2 pm. Through December 15.
Sam Shepard's paean to wacky, macho sibling rivalry. Insight America at Chamber Theater, 915 E Pine St, fourth floor, 325-6500. $14-$16. Fri-Sat at 8 pm. Through Dec 21.
FESTIVALS, CABARET, & COMEDY
6 OF 1... HALF DOZEN THE OTHER
This week only. Two groups of six performers comprise this two hour festival of 12 original solo shows. University of Washington Professional Actor Training Program at Ethnic Cultural Theatre, 3940 Brooklyn Ave NE, 675-0421. $5-$7. Mon-Tues at 3 pm, 7 pm.
A(N IMPROVISED) CHRISTMAS CAROL
The holiday deluge: Dickens with audience suggestions. Unexpected Productions at the Market Theater, 1428 Post Alley (below Pike Place Market), 781-9273. $10. Fri-Sat at 8 pm. Through Dec 21.
"Chaos Theory is touted as a bold new experiment where sketch comedy is unpredictably merged with improvisation to create an evening of "improvedy," if you will. The results of this experiment are not unlike most other improvised comedy shows. Fitfully funny with occasional moments of inspired wit, the show also boasts the predictable smattering of scatological humor, reflexive pop-culture references, and chronic underutilization of a clearly talented female cast member (Shanan Kelley)." (Jeff Meyers) The Habit Productions at Rendezvous, 2320 Second Ave, 696-8430. $10. Fri-Sat at 8 pm. Through Dec 21.
* DRUNK PUPPET NITE 2
Final week. See Stranger Suggests. Monkey Wrench Puppet Labs at Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 323-0388. $15. Fri-Sat at 8 pm. Through Dec 7.
OPEN CIRCLE'S GREATEST HITS
Opening. It's the holiday season... who needs all that overrated imagination? Open Circle milks the supple teat of its back catalog (including The Dragon, The Naked King, Poona the Fuckdog, and Gorey Stories, to name a few), much to the delight of audiences everywhere. Open Circle, 429 Boren Ave N, 382-4250. $10. Thurs-Sat at 8 pm. Through Dec 14.
* PHOENICIA & VIC AT THE HOLIDAY LOUNGE
Admirable choreographer Wade Madsen unleashes his similarly regarded alter ego Phoenicia--a svelte, blond, lounge-singing semi-sensation who's daffy as a duck, funny as shit, and accompanied by pianist Victor Janusz. Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 233-9873. $13. Sun-Mon at 8 pm. Through Dec 22.
VOICES OF CHRISTMAS
See review this issue. ArtsWest, 4711 California Ave SW, 938-0339. $10-$26. Tues-Sat at 7:30 pm, with Sat and Sun matinees at 3 pm. Through Dec 24.
NEW MOVES CONCERT 2002
This week only. The latest works by student choreographers and dancers. Cornish College Dance Department at Velocity Dance Center, 915 E Pine St, 325-6500. $3-$5. Fri-Sun at 8 pm.
You know, the only ballet you've ever seen. Yes, the one with the giant mice. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St, 628-0888. $15.50-$101.50. Fri at 7:30 pm, Sat at 2 pm and 7:30 pm, Sun at 1 pm and 5:30 pm. Through Dec 30.
THE VIVIAN GIRLS
One night only. A twinkle-footed interpretation of elusive outsider artist Henry Darger's most famous work. Pat Graney at Century Ballroom, 907 E Pine St, 324-7263. By donation. Sun Dec 8 at 2 pm.
* CARLOTTA'S LATE NIGHT WING-DING
"Played brilliantly by drag-queen genius Troy Mink, Carlotta hosts a "weekly cabaret-comedy-improv-variety show-whathaveya" for late-night theater patrons and culture aficionados. God bless Carlotta Philpott." (Lindsay Marsak) Ursa Major Theatre Company at Northwest Actors Studio, 1100 E Pike St, fourth floor, 325-6500. $8-$10. Fri-Sat at 10:30 pm. Through Jan 5.
NAUGHTY OR NICE
One night only. The folks over at BurningHearts finally hit the nail on the head with this one: Fuck all that "art" shit--it's time for pasties! BurningHearts at Rendezvous, 2322 Second Ave, 441-5823. $10. Sat at 10:30pm & 11:30pm.
SPIN THE BOTTLE
This week only. Annex Theater continues it tradition of omnibus monthly shows, this month featuring Richard LeFebvre, Erin & Gillian Jorgensen, Sgt. Rigsby, and many more. Annex Theatre at Velocity MainSpace, 915 E Pine St, second floor, 728-0933. $5. Fri at 11 pm.