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Theatrical Tidings

From family favorites to hilarious holiday spoofs, these stage productions offer plenty of Yuletide cheer.

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Irving Berlin's White Christmas  

A Christmas Carol
Players Theatre; through December 30; 115 MacDougal St., at Minetta Ln.; 212-352-3101
Charles Dickens's classic tale is adapted here as a quick, lighthearted musical that runs at a very kid-friendly 60 minutes. As a bonus, families can partake in the pre-show workshop to make some holiday arts and crafts.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
Marquis Theatre; through January 3; 1535 Broadway, nr. 45th St.; 212-307-4100
This candy-colored musical, based on the beloved 1954 film, returns for a limited engagement on Broadway. Its classic songs make it a definite crowd-pleaser.

The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever
The Actors' Playhouse; through January 3; 100 Seventh Ave. South, nr. Grove St.; 212-279-4200
A send-up of both holiday spirit and backstage drama, this camp-laden new work tells the story of a struggling gay theater company in West Hollywood racing to put on the titular production in a matter of weeks. Bawdy jokes and over-the-top characters guaranteed.

Cirque du Soleil: Wintuk
WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden; through January 3; 4 Penn Plaza, nr. 32nd St.; 212-465-6741
Back for its third season, this acrobatic show featuring an international cast of 50 performers follows a city child on his quest for snow and adventure, using everything from trampolines to puppets. If you miss it this year, don't fret: The show is set to return to the Garden each winter through 2011.

Sister's Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi's Gold
Sofia's Restaurant Downstairs Theater; through January 3; 221 W. 46th St., nr. Broadway; 212-947-9300
A riff on the teachings familiar to anyone who's ever been a Catholic student, Maripat Donovan's solo performance takes a humorous look at the biblical account of Jesus' birth. In addition to wondering whatever happened to all of those presents, she uses audience members to create a living Nativity in her own vision.

The Tortoise and the Hare's Holiday Hoop-La!
St. Luke's Theatre; through January 10; 308 W. 46th St., nr. Eighth Ave.; 212-239-6200
This new family-oriented musical hones in not only on the holiday spirit, but also on the timelessness of friendship and teamwork. Even better is the show's multicultural approach, which means there are dancing matzo balls!

Santa Claus Is Coming Out
Kirk Theatre; through December 20; 410 W. 42nd St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-279-4200
Ever wonder what would happen if Santa was gay? Probably not, but this madcap mockumentary imagines a worldwide scandal erupting following news of Santa's relationship with Italian toymaker Geppetto.

Christmas Rappings
Judson Memorial Church; 12/4–12/19; 55 Washington Sq. South, at Thompson St.; 212-477-0351 ext. 24
Returning for its 40th anniversary, this musical extravaganza marries the word of the Gospels to a pastiche of musical genres from tango to country. The 100-strong cast makes this a high-spirited look at the origins of Christmas.

In Fields Where They Lay
Hudson Guild Theatre; 12/11–1/2; 441 W. 26th St., nr. Tenth Ave.; 212-868-4444
This new play looks at the holidays in the unlikeliest of places: the front lines of World War I. Based on diaries and letters from the time, the play shows how even enemies such as the British and the Germans came together at Christmas to stop fighting and sing carols, an illuminating message on the power of the holiday spirit.


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