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Posted at 4:56 PM ET, 11/29/2010

On stage in December: 'Nutcracker,' Second City, 'South Pacific'

By Stephanie Merry

The musical "South Pacific" comes to the Kennedy Center. (Peter Coombs)

Like salty and sweet in the world of cuisine, opposing flavors can create a complementary treat. So it goes with theater this month. For every classic title, there's an edgy counterpart. What better way to follow "The Nutcracker" than with "Oy Vey in a Manger"?

Starting on the offbeat end of the spectrum, Studio Theatre's ever-unconventional 2ndStage brings the 1995 play "Mojo" to the boards. British playwright Jez Butterworth won the Laurence Olivier Award for this dark comedy, which is something of a murder mystery swirling around drug-addled characters (who curse like sailors) in a 1950s London nightclub.

There are many holiday favorites to choose from this time of year, but the Washington Ballet's "The Nutcracker" stands apart thanks to its local flair. Septime Webre's American history-inspired rendition finds George Washington in the title role, a Rat King inspired by King George III and even a cameo by cherry blossoms along the Potomac.

Signature Theatre gets a dose of Andrew Lloyd Webber with the local debut of "Sunset Boulevard." Florence Lacey, from Broadway's "Evita," takes on the role of fading star turned potential comeback queen Norma Desmond.

Chicago's Second City comedians are working hard to show they don't discriminate. After their last Woolly offering, "Barack Stars," poked fun at the president and Rahm Emanuel, the witty goofballs are aiming their punch lines at Nancy Pelosi and Capitol Hill's other leading ladies for "A Girl's Guide to Washington Politics."

The Broadway revival of the World War II musical "South Pacific" by Rodgers and Hammerstein garnered rave reviews and numerous Tonys when it opened in 2008. Now the much-loved play responsible for lodging "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair" into so many heads makes its way to the Kennedy Center.

With all the familiar ghosts of Christmas past floating around, it might be time to shake up your holiday traditions. Enter the Kinsey Sicks, four drag queens who provide a cabaret of parodied yuletide ditties during "Oy Vey in a Manger."

Arena Stage bids 2010 adieu in a big way - with Anna Deavere Smith. The acclaimed actress performs her well-received one-woman show, "Let Me Down Easy," which offers vignettes as a way to look at the hot topic of health care.

By Stephanie Merry  | November 29, 2010; 4:56 PM ET
Categories:  Theater  
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