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San Diego holiday shows that’ll help knock the ‘bah, humbug’ out of you

The Grinch and Young Maxi in the Old Globe's "Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" in 2021.
Andrew Polec as The Grinch and Tommy Martinez as Young Max in the Old Globe’s “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” in 2021.
(Courtesy of Rich Soublet II)

Some theaters are bringing back longtime annual shows, while others are doing new musicals and plays

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With COVID finally loosening its grip on San Diego, local theaters are going big with a wide variety of holiday entertainment. Here’s a look at what’s coming this holiday season. Shows are listed in order of their opening dates.

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‘Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’

Andrew Polec, who was the childlike and wacky star in the Old Globe’s “Grinch” production last year, returns to reprise his role in this 25th annual production. Based on a 1957 children’s book by the late La Jolla author Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, the musical by Timothy Mason and Mel Marvin premiered in 1994 at a children’s theater in Minneapolis. In 1998, it moved to the Old Globe, where artistic director Jack O’Brien worked with Geisel’s widow, Audrey Geisel, to add music from the famous 1966 animated TV version and a storybook-come-to-life scenic and costume design. It’s been an annual tradition ever since. Now playing through Dec. 31. Showtimes vary from week to week, but mostly evenings Tuesdays-Fridays and multiple shows on weekend days. The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, San Diego. $59-$89. (619) 234-5623. theoldglobe.org

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‘The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge’

The Theatre School at North Coast Rep presents a youth-cast production of Mark Brown’s courtroom adaptation of Charles Dickens’ holiday story of Ebenezer Scrooge, who discovers the holiday spirit after visits from the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future. 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Nov. 17 and 18. 2 and 5:30 p.m. Nov. 19. 2 p.m. Nov. 20. 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach. $16-$20. northcoastreptheatreschool.org

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‘Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show’

The Old Globe's 2021 production of "Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show."
Bill Buell as Ebenezer Scrooge in the Old Globe’s 2021 production of “Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show.”
(Courtesy of Jim Cox)

The Old Globe brings back its fast-paced comedic take on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” which was first presented at the Globe in 2019. Written by Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen, it’s an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic Victorian novella about miserly Ebenezer Scrooge’s Christmas morning redemption, re-set in San Diego with music, comedy and all of the time-traveling ghosts and other characters for which the story is known. Nov. 18 through Dec. 24. 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays. 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, San Diego. $34-$85. (619) 234-5623. theoldglobe.org

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‘A Christmas Carol’

Sean Murray takes over the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in Cygnet Theatre's annual "A Christmas Carol" production this year.
(Courtesy of Cygnet Theatre)

Cygnet Theatre presents its 11th annual production of Dickens’ redemptive holiday tale. At the end of last year’s production, Cygnet’s longtime Scrooge actor, Tom Stephenson, retired, so Cygnet’s artistic director Sean Murray is taking over the role this year. This version was adapted for the stage and directed by Murray, with lyrics by Murray and original music by Billy Thompson. It features sing-along Christmas carols, puppetry and special effects. Nov. 22 through Dec. 24. 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. 8 p.m. Fridays. 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays. 2 p.m. Sundays. Cygnet’s Old Town Theatre, 4040 Twiggs St., Old Town San Diego. $30 and up. (619) 337-1525. cygnettheatre.com

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‘Plaid Tidings’

San Diego Musical Theatre presents this holiday edition of the popular doo-wop musical comedy “Forever Plaid.” In this version, the long-dead 1960s-era men’s vocal quartet, the Plaids, are resurrected for one night to give the holiday concert they never got to sing in life. Nov. 25 through Dec. 24. 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. 8 p.m. Fridays. 4 p.m. Saturdays. 2 p.m. Sundays. SDMT Stage, 4650 Mercury St., San Diego. $40 and up. (858) 560-5740. sdmt.org

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‘The Gifts of the Magi’

Lamplighters Community Theatre presents this musical adaptation of the O. Henry holiday story about an impoverished but devoted young couple who give up their most cherished possessions to buy one another Christmas presents. Nov. 25 through Dec. 18. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. 2 p.m. Sundays. 5915 Severin Drive, La Mesa. $22-$28. (619) 303-5092. lamplighterslamesa.com

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‘It’s a Wonderful Vida’

Herbert Siguenza is presenting his play "It's a Wonderful Vida" at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista.
(Daren Scott)

OnStage Playhouse presents San Diego playwright Herbert Siguenza’s dark satirical look at Mexican Americans working hard to assimilate during the 1957 Christmas season in Corpus Christi, Texas. Dec. 1 through 21. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays. 2 p.m. Sundays. 291 Third Ave., Chula Vista. $15-$25. (619) 422-7787. onstageplayhouse.org

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‘Prairie Lights’

Patio Playhouse Youth Theatre presents this tender holiday musical by Susan Lieberman, David Rush and Rosalie Gerut about a pair of Jewish teen siblings riding an orphan train to their new adoptive Jewish parents in 1905 Nebraska, just before Hanukkah and Christmas. Dec. 2 through 18. 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. 2 p.m. Sundays. Patio Playhouse, 116 S. Kalmia St., Escondido. $13-$17. (760) 746-6669. patioplayhouse.com

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Lamb’s Festival of Christmas: ‘A Christmas Carol’

Lamb’s Players Theatre carries on its tradition of presenting original holiday plays by associate artistic director Kerry Meads. This year’s Festival of Christmas production, first produced as a touring show in the 1980s and revised for new, larger-cast staging last year, is a 90-minute adaptation of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Dec. 1 through 24. 1142 Orange Ave., Coronado. $43-$86. (619) 437-6000. lambsplayers.org

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‘1222 Oceanfront: A Black Family Christmas: The Concert Version’

Following its 2021 world premiere at New Village Arts, San Diego playwright Dea Hurston’s contemporary holiday musical returns this year in a “concert version” adaptation due to unexpected construction delays at the soon-to-reopen Carlsbad theater. From Dec. 12-19, the musical’s cast will take the show on tour to five locations around San Diego County. That will be followed by five performances on NVA’s new stage Dec. 20-24. The musical was created and devised by Hurston and Frankie Alicea-Ford, Kevin “Blax” Burroughs and Milena (Sellers) Phillips, with music by John-Mark McGaha and lyrics by Phillips. It’s the story of widowed family matriarch Dorothy Black, hosting a Christmas Eve celebration with her adult children when some unexpected family drama erupts. Tour locations have not been announced. New Village Arts is at 2787 State St., Carlsbad. (760) 433-3245. newvillagearts.org

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‘Annie’

The national touring production of "Annie," playing Dec. 28- Jan. 1 at the San Diego Civic Theatre.
Ellie Pulsifer as Annie and Christopher Swan as Daddy Warbucks in the national touring production of “Annie,” playing Dec. 28 through Jan. 1 at the San Diego Civic Theatre.
(Courtesy of MurphyMade)

Broadway San Diego presents the national touring production of this classic 1976 holiday musical about an irrepressible Depression-era orphan who wishes for a family for Christmas. 7 p.m. Dec. 28. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 29 and 30. 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 31. 1 and 6:30 p.m. Jan. 1. San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., San Diego. $30.50 and up. broadwaysd.com

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