Connecticut’s Best Holiday Shows

November 14, 2011 9:00 AM

By Joanne Greco RochmanGoing home for the holidays may be a tradition, but more and more Connecticut theater productions are also becoming holiday traditions.Whether you’re shopping for groceries for that Thanksgiving Day dinner or rushing about as Santa’s helper, you’ll need to take a break.  What better way to do that than to head out to your nearest playhouse where you can sit back, relax, and be thoroughly entertained.   Here’s a sampling of what’s on stage for the holidays, but do check with your local theaters for more listings.


Warner Theater
68 Main Street
Torrington, CT 06790-5390
(860) 489-7180
Hours: Box Office is Open Mon to Wed, Fri 10am-5pm; Thurs 10am-6pm; Sat 10am-2pm; Sun Closed, except on performance days

Representing the best of a time honored tradition that began more than twenty-five centuries ago, the Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats appear at the Warner Theater in Torrington the day after Thanksgiving, when everyone needs to get away from the table and out of the house. These award-winning acrobatics, combine traditional dance, spectacular costumes, ancient and contemporary music and theatrical techniques to present a show of breathtaking skill and spellbinding beauty. On Nov. 26, the Warner features “In My Life: The John Lennon Tribute” starring Carlo Cantamessa, followed by the “Nutcracker” and “A Christmas Carol” on Dec. 10 and 11, and a “Rockin’ Holiday Celebration on Dec. 16. For more information or tickets call the box office.


The Palace Theater
Stamford Center for the Arts
61 Atlantic St
Stamford, CT 06901
(203) 325-4466

If you just can’t get away from those leftovers the next day, then you’re in luck. The Palace Theater at the Stamford Center for the Arts is featuring two special events for post Thanksgiving thrills. Direct from China for two shows only is the spectacular “Cirque d’Or, also featuring the Golden Dragon Acrobats. The Golden Dragons acrobatic touring company will spin umbrellas with their feet, scale poles, lean at 45-degree angles, and build human pyramids on bicycles. Show times are Nov. 26 at 2 and 7 p.m. This is a show for the entire family. Of course the little ones will love the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia’s “Goodnight Moon” and “The Runaway Bunny,” which will take to the stage on Dec. 8. For more  information contact the box office.

Long Wharf Theatre
222 Sargent Drive
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 787-4282
Box Office Hours: Monday from 10 to 5 pm, Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to evening curtain, Saturday and Sunday noon to evening curtain

Holidays are for sharing memories of the past and creating new memories for tomorrow. That’s why Joe Landry’s “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” is such a great holiday show. Based on the classic holiday film, this live radio play, scheduled to run at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, looks back to the 1940s when sound effects were created for radio audiences by use of everyday objects. Watching an actor put his/her  hands in a pair of shoes and walking across a table to simulate the sound of footsteps, or watching actors closing a file cabinet door that sounds just like a car door being slammed is reminiscent of life, pre-hi-tech. Everything from washboards to bicycle horns are transformed in this cleverly adapted play. That it is being directed by the talented Eric Ting pretty much guarantees that this holiday show will be a winner.  George Bailey, the main character learns that “no man is a failure who has friends.” And anyone attending this production will learn that it’s the simple things in life that give us the most joy. The show runs from Dec. 7 – 31.

Photo Credit: Diane Sobolewski

The Goodspeed Opera House
6 Main Street
East Haddam, CT 06423
(860) 873-8668

Just in time for the holidays, The Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam has on its main stage, “City of Angels.” A film noir of thugs and gals and the winner of many Tony Awards, this detective thriller, and whodunit spoof with a jazzy core runs through Nov. 27.


Seven Angels Theatre
1 Plank Rd
Waterbury, CT 06705
(203) 757-4676
Hours: Mon to Fri 12pm-5pm; Sat 12pm-3pm

From Nov. 10 through Dec. 11, Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury presents “Smokey Joe’s Café.”  This musical will liven up the holidays for sure with the songs of Leiber and Stoller. This is a musical revue that celebrates the dance and song of Rock and Roll.

Joanne Greco Rochman is the arts editor of “The Fairfield County Review,” a columnist, critic, feature story writer and English professor. Her work has appeared in “The New York Times,” “The Republican-American” and Hersam-Acorn Publications.