The Bannisters’ Wholesome Family Fun Hour Local folky-rockers The Bannisters present an eclectic mix of music, comedy and fun in live and taped segments in an old-time variety show format. Planet Ant Theatre, Hamtramck. Previews Dec. 25 & 26, runs Thu.-Sat., Dec. 29-Jan. 14, 2006, plus Sun., Jan. 8. $10. 313-365-4948. http://www.planetant.com. May not be suitable for children.
A Christmas Carol Mean-spirited Ebenezer Scrooge is haunted by three ghosts in this annual Holiday classic. Meadow Brook Theatre, Rochester. Various dates and times, through Dec. 24. $30-$38. 248-377-3300. http://www.mbttheatre.com.
Electra Sophocles’ classic tale of a woman seeking revenge for the death of her father. The Hilberry Theatre, Detroit. Plays in repertory Jan. 6-March 23, 2006. $20-$28. 313-577-2972. http://www.hilberry.com.
Heart Attack Eight women and posters of Marilyn Monroe come to the rescue of an unfunny, down-on-his-luck stand-up comedian. Detroit Repertory Theatre, Detroit. Thu.-Sun., through Dec. 30, plus a special New Year’s Eve performance. $20. 313-868-1347. http://www.detroitreptheatre.com.
Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol Marley finds himself facing the Record Keeper in the afterlife and is offered one chance to save himself from a wretched eternity A Michigan premiere by Performance Network Theatre, Ann Arbor. Thu.-Sun., through Dec. 24. $20-$34.50. 734-663-0681. http://www.performancenetwork.org.
Little Women A remarkable new musical based on the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott. Fisher Theatre, Detroit. Tue.-Sun., Dec. 27-Jan. 1. $32.50-$72.50. 313-872-1000. http://www.nederlanderdetroit.com.
Menopause The Musical A joyful musical parody about four women who have nothing in common except a certain shared experience! Gem Theatre, Detroit. Every Tue.-Sun. $39.50. 313-963-9800. http://www.gemtheatre.com.
Mrs. Shakespeare Dishes the Dirt Award-winning actress Gillian Eaton presents a 90-minute solo show about the life of Shakespeare from his wife’s point of view. Performance Network Theatre, Ann Arbor. Thu.-Sun., Jan. 5-15, 2006. $20-$40. 734-663-0681. http://www.performancenetwork.org.
No Way to Treat a Lady A musical comedy thriller about a cat-and-mouse game between a detective and a serial killer, and the detective’s mother and the killer’s mother, and someone else’s mother! A co-production of the BoarsHead Theatre and Meadow Brook Theatre at Meadow Brook Theatre, Rochester. Previews Jan. 4-6, 2006 and runs Wed.-Sun, Jan. 7-29, 2006. $20-$36. 248-377-3300. http://www.mbtheatre.com.
Radio City Christmas Spectacular The beloved Radio City Rockettes return for their ninth season of holiday cheer for the entire family. The fabulous Fox Theatre, Detroit. Tue.-Sun., through Dec. 24. $20.50-$65.50. 313-471-6611. http://www.olympiaentertainment.com.
Side by Side by Sondheim A tribute to the sophistication, wit, insight, heart and genius of composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Jewish Ensemble Theatre Company at the DeRoy Theatre on the campus of the Jewish Community Center, West Bloomfield. Wed., Thu., Sat. & Sun., through Jan. 8. $27-$37. 248-788-2900. http://www.jettheatre.org.
Sister’s Christmas Catechism The Good Sister returns and employs techniques from her favorite TV show, “Forensic Files,” to discover the whereabouts of the Magi’s gold. Century Theatre, Detroit. Tue.-Sun., through Dec. 31. $34.50-$39.50. 313-963-9800. http://www.gemtheatre.com.
Sweet Bird of Youth Tennessee Williams’ shocking tale of scandal and betrayal. The Hilberry Theatre, Detroit. Plays in repertory through Jan. 28, 2006. $20-$28. 313-577-2972. http://www.hilberry.com.
All in the Timing Part 2 An all new collection of comedic scenes designed to eradicate the holiday blues. Riverwalk Theatre, Lansing. Dec. 29-31. $10. 517-482-5700. http://www.riverwalktheatre.com. For adults only.
Over the Tavern It’s 1959 and Catholic schooler Rudy Pazinski comes to realize that it’s time to shop around for another religion. Kalamazoo Civic Theatre at the Civic Auditorium, Kalamazoo. Jan. 6-7, 12-15 & 20-21, 2006. $13-$18. 269-343-1313. http://www.kazoocivic.com.
Theater for Young Audiences:
Alexander, Who’s Not, Not, Not, Not, Not, Not Going to Move! A musical about the feisty and lovable boy from the “Alexander” book series who faces his biggest challenge ever. Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, Clinton Twp. Sat., Jan. 7, 2006. $10. 586-286-2222. http://www.macombcenter.com.
Babes in Toyland Victor Herbert’s classic operetta will delight the whole family. Charlotte Performing Arts Center, Charlotte. Fri., Dec. 23. $25. 517-541-5690. http://www.cpacpresents.com.
Improvisation/Late Night/Interactive/Dinner Theater:
The Christma-Hana-Kwanzaa Holiday Spectacular A variety comedy show that lampoons and lambastes the holidays with sketches, dance and improv. Improv Inferno, Ann Arbor. Fri. & Sat. throughout December (excl. Christmas Eve and NY Eve). $10. 734-214-7080. http://www.improvinferno.com. Recommended for adults only; not recommended for fuddy-duddies.
Improv Inferno A new comedy lounge in Downtown Ann Arbor with five nights of fun: “The Wild Card” and “Super Fun Karaoke” hit the stage on Wednesday nights; Thursday hosts “Catfight” and “High Octane”; Friday & Saturday feature “The Damnation Game,” and at Midnight, “The X Show”; and the week closes on Sunday with “Get Up! Stand Up!” and “The Sweet Spot with Eye Candy.” Note: Schedule changes in Jan., 2006. $5-$10. 734-214-7080. http://www.improvinferno.com.
In iPod We Trust Second City’s 26th review explores political and societal elements from Detroit, Novi and national perspectives. The Second City, Novi. Every Wed.-Sun. $15-$20. 248-348-4448. http://www.secondcity.com.
Monday Night @ Planet Ant The Ant’s resident improvisational troupe, the Improv Colony, is joined each week by a Guest Team that performs the evening’s first act. Planet Ant, Hamtramck. Every Monday. $5. 313-365-4948. http://www.planetant.com.
Planet Ant Improv Festival and Holiday Fundraiser A week-long series of events featuring many of the area’s favorite improvisers, plus The Bannisters and 3 Guys Named Joe. Planet Ant Theatre, Hamtramck. Through Thu., Dec. 22. Ticket prices vary; $3 minimum. 313-365-4948. http://www.planetant.com.
The Reality Buffet Short plays selected by the audience are based upon the lives, perspectives and experiences of Detroit’s acting and improv communities. Motoprism at the Improv Inferno, Ann Arbor. Every Fri. & Sat. through February. $10. 734-214-7080. http://www.improvinferno.com.
New Year’s Evil On the last night of 2005, celebrate like it’s your last night on earth, with a special showing of the “Damnation Game,” a $100 prize giveaway, a complimentary champagne toast, karaoke and a performance by award winning Elvis tribute artist, Chris Solano. Improv Inferno, Ann Arbor. $20. 734-214-7080. http://www.improvinferno.com.
2005: A Christmas ODDyssey They came from space with a goal, an act of treachery so unbelievable that no one could stop them. Their mission? To kidnap Santa! Random Acts on the Old Road Murder Mystery Dinner Train, Charlotte. Every Saturday, through Dec. 31. $57.95 includes dinner and show. 888-726-8277. http://www.random-acts.net.
Auditions and Classes:
THE ABREACT – auditions for “Watermelon Man,” Jan. 2-4, 313-378-5404; MARSHALL CIVIC PLAYERS – auditions for “Evita,” Jan. 2-3, 269-789-9677; FLINT YOUTH THEATRE – registration for dramatic arts classes that begin week of Jan. 10, 810-237-1530.