Wednesday, December 7, 2016

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like December

Yes, I'm more than a day late and more than a dollar short with my December listings. I do apologize. But time's a-wasting so we'd better get on with the show. 

It's a Wonderful Life, a Live Radio Play opened December 2, but performances continue tonight, tomorrow and Friday night at Illinois State University's Center for the Performing Arts. Check out this ISU press release for all the details.

The Normal Theater has pretty much a whole month of holiday movie programming coming up, including The Santa Clause tomorrow, Elf on Friday and Sunday, and Remember the Night, White Chrismas, It's a Wonderful Life, Edward Scissorhands, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and the 1938 Christmas Carol, all before Christmas day. To check out what's when and all the other important details, you can visit the Normal Theater's December calendar.

Champaign's Parkland College will perform A Charlie Brown Christmas live and on stage through December 11. Remaining performances are Friday December 9 and Saturday December 10 at 7:30 pm, and Saturday and Sunday the 10th and 11th at 3 pm. This stage version of the classic TV program includes, "joyful music and a meet and greet with the Peanuts characters for the kids."

The Normal pop-up theater known as Sticky is back Friday night at Firehouse Pizza and Pub for their sweet and sticky holiday event. You are invited to "settle in under the twinkling lights to be entertained by six ten-minute plays that are nothing short of jolly." Sticky organizers would like you to keep in mind that this is considered an all-ages event, but some plays may contain adult themes and mature language. Remember: It's set at a bar, which by definition (or at least by law) includes adult activities. In fact, I have never seen a Sticky without adult themes and mature language. Admission is $7 at the door and Karen Bridges will be the opening musical act. The December Sticky cast will include founders Connie Blick and J. Michael Grey as well as Lori Cook Baird, John Bowen, Kyle Fitzgerald, Devon Lovell, Wes Melton, Nick McBurney, Michelle Woody and Kristi Zimmerman-Weiher.

Community Players will offer a free holiday movie -- Home Alone -- to the first 270 people in the door on Saturday, December 10th. Doors open at 5:30 pm, with the movie starting at 6. They are promising holiday cookies and other refreshments and even some prizes. You're encouraged to deck out in holiday gear, too. If you don't have any other use for that garish Christmas sweater with Santa and a load of reindeer, this may just be the place to go.

Fathom Events brings George Takei's Allegiance, the Broadway musical inspired by real events in the United States during World War II, to screens nationwide next week. After Pearl Harbor, Japanese-American families like Takei's were taken from their homes, their jobs and their schools and forced to live in "relocation camps" simply because their ancestry was Japanese. This blot on our national history needs to be remembered, especially since politicians are once again suggesting that immigrants or children of immigrants cannot be trusted because of where they came from or what religion they practice. You'll find details about the show here, and movie theaters where it's playing here. Willow Knolls 14 in Peoria, Savoy 16 south of Champaign, and Springfield 10 in Springfield are your closest options if you're in Bloomington-Normal. All three of those theaters are showing Allegiance at 7:30 pm on December 13. Click the links under the names of the theaters to get tickets.

Over in Urbana, the Station Theater's December show, Every Brilliant Thing by Duncan Macmillan and Jonny Donahoe, runs through December 17. "A one-person interactive play about depression and the lengths we will go to for those we love," Every Brilliant Thing is directed by Katie Baldwin Prosise and features William Anthony Sebastian Rose II as the one man in the one-man show on even dates like the 8th and the 10th and Jason Dockins on odd dates like the 9th and the 11th. Click here for more information on Every Brilliant Thing at the Station or here to reserve tickets.

And if you want to keep ahead of awards season, highly touted movies like Moonlight, La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Loving and Arrival are already in theaters or will be soon. Moonlight and Arrival are in area theaters now, with Loving in Champaign at the Art Theater Co-op and Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight both listed under the "coming soon" tab at the Art. La La Land is scheduled to open everywhere on December 16. So far, the Independent Spirit and Critics Choice Awards have announced their nominations if you want to see which films emerge as the front-runners. The Critics Choice organization will give out its awards on December 11 with a ceremony televised on A&E at 7 pm Central time, the Golden Globes will announce their (frequently flaky) nominations on December 12 at 7 am our time, and the Screen Actors Guild will announce its (less flaky) nominations December 14.

More to come as more nominations and awards come in and I get a handle on who's showing what on TV in terms of my favorite holiday films.

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