The Go Go: Three Ways to Scrooge

Don't get your holiday knickers in a twist!
Get your holiday knickers in a twist!

Tis the Season to Fezziwig

Possible scenarios requiring a Dickens intervention:

1. You have a friend/relative/co-worker who can’t live without their yearly dose of Tiny Tim. (You have serious doubts about the relationship.)

2.  Someone who clearly doesn’t know you very well designated YOU as the festive group/holiday outing planner.  (Uh-oh.)

3.  Inexplicably, your usual dried up peach pit of a heart is feeling the teensiest warming to the spirit of the season. (Yes, it IS a Christmas miracle.)

But what’s a humbug to do when Dickens is a must but the mere idea of a treacle-y version of A Christmas Carol induces  sugar shock?

Read on for ways to assuage your inner Ebenezer and still seem like the jolliest of holiday pals.

What a Dickens!

Feeling especially irritable  irreverent this season?   Want to insert your own cranky comic spin on Dickens’ iconic Xmas tale?

Most importantly, want a cocktail with your Carol?

If you answered “OMG, yes” to any of the above, head to the Center Theater Group’s Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City for the second year of Twist Your Dickens!

The Second City’s not-for-tykes take on A Christmas Carol has it all: anachronistic characters (e.g. The Three Wise Guys Kings), scenes improvised from sassy audience suggestions, and a surprise celebrity guest every night.  The latter group of comedy high-flyers includes: Casey Affleck, Diedrich Bader, Gregg Binkley, Mindy Cohn, Mike Hagerty, Jane Kaczmarek, Richard Karn, Keegan-Michael Key, Matthew Modine, Rhea Perlman, Paul Provenza, Danny Pudi, Yakov Smirnoff, Mindy Sterling, Verne Troyer, Reginald VelJohnson and Fred Willard.

It’s the roulette wheel of improv but you’re always a winner.

To ensure  audience suggestions are neither lame nor tame, theme cocktails — Tiny Timtinis and Scroogedrivers — “will be flowing in the lobby” and a “kissing booth” ensures an abundance of holiday warmth and embarrassing PDAs.

There may also be “tidings of comfort and joy”.

THE SECOND CITY’S “TWIST YOUR DICKENS!” — through Dec 29; Tues – Fri @ 8pm; $20-$57.  Sat & Sun @5pm & 9pm; $30 -$65; 16+Kirk Douglas Theater, 9820 Washington Blvd, Culver City 90232.  Buy tickets here.  Directions & parking here.

ZJU's Very Merry Xmas Carol
ZJU’s Very Scary Xmas Carol

Steampunk Your Carol

It’s a safe bet Dickens didn’t envision a Steam Punk Chorus belting out pre-show carols before his beloved revitalization-of-Christmas tale but that’s just one of the reasons you’ll love ZJU Theatre Group’s  A Christmas Carol.

Also, ghosts.

It should come as no surprise that at NoHo’s reigning home of Grand Guignol horror, ghosts get as much focus as generosity in ZJU’s spin.  Ever-deft director Denise Devin  plays the Ghosts of Past, Present and Future with gleeful gusto and slaloms through the classic holiday offering with the help of whiz bang Musical Director Annalee Scott at the head of the live band that also produces most of the sound effects.

The nimble cast includes Sebastian Munoz as Scrooge and Zombie Joe himself  in a rare turn treading the boards as — what else? — The Ghost of Jacob Marley in all his clanking, ghoulish glory.

You’ll say “God bless us, every one”  for protection instead of benediction.

ZJU THEATRE GROUP’S “A CHRISTMAS CAROL”through Dec 22; Sat @ 8:30pm & Sun @ 7pm.  $15; 12+ —  ZJU Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd, NoHo 91601 Reservations: 818.202.4120

Background, left to right: Alan Blumenfeld (Ghost of Christmas Present) and Geoff Elliott (Ebenezer Scrooge) with the Cast of A Christmas Carol at A Noise Within.
Background, left to right: Alan Blumenfeld (Ghost of Christmas Present) and Geoff Elliott (Ebenezer Scrooge) with the Cast of A Christmas Carol at A Noise Within.

Spectacle and Score Carol

If it really, truly, has to be straight Dickens,  A Christmas Carol at A Noise Within is your ticket to hangin’  with the Cratchit clan as well as your Mom.  Geoff Elliot’s adaptation uses only Dickens’ original words and he and co-director  Julia Rodriguez-Elliot offer plenty of holiday tradition and spooky spectacle with a soupçon of punk.

Or maybe they had pink hair in Dickens’s days.

The best subversive little twist is the tinkly music box score by composer Ego Plum: the musical director of the Ebola Music Orchestra.  Plum’s collaborators have included David J (Bauhaus/Love & Rockets), Frank Black/Black Francis (The Pixies), and Steve Bartek and Johnny Vatos (Oingo Boingo).

Go Go’ers, there’s no need to mention collaborator Gidget Gein (Marilyn Manson) to Grandma.

She has enough to worry about with the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.

A NOISE WITHIN’S “A CHRISTMAS CAROL” —  Through Sun, Dec 22; schedule here. $45-$62/7+A Noise Within, 3352 E Foothill Blvd, Pasadena 91107

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….

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