The Fall Theatre Swing

santa-brunchBy Joseph Ferlo

Before the decked halls are shut down for the Christmas holiday, there are a few great theatre productions to take in right here in the Valley.

Starting things off, with one performance only on December 4, is A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. Staged by the touring Nebraska Theatre Caravan, which has been putting on this fabulous production for decades, this time-honored family tradition returns this holiday season as Dickens’ “ghostly little tale” is brought to life. Follow the inspiring transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge as he discovers the true meaning of Christmas. With heartfelt carols and a loveable cast of characters including little Tiny Tim, start your family’s celebration with this holiday favorite.

For the young actors, the marvelous Missoula Children’s Theatre returns for one of its several annual visits to our region. This one is at UW- Fox Valley, where THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE is cast, rehearsed, and performed in just one week! Auditions for students are on Monday, December 2 after-school, and the performances (featuring a cast including a herd of goats, an all-animal band, and hula-dancing chameleons) are December 6-7.

And finally, those wacky singing and dancing nuns invade The Grand when Oshkosh Community Players presents NUNSENSE on December 12-14. For anyone unfamiliar with the story line, five of last surviving Little Sisters of Hoboken discover that their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, accidentally killed the other residents of the convent while they were off playing bingo. Currently, there is no money in the kitty to pay for the last four burials. With the deceased nuns on ice in the deep freeze, they decide to stage a variety show to raise the necessary amount. Participating in the project are Mother Superior Mary Regina, a former circus performer who cannot resist the spotlight; her competitive but dignified rival, second-in-command Sister Mary Hubert; Sister Robert Anne, a streetwise nun from Brooklyn; Sister Mary Leo, a novice who is determined to be the world’s first ballerina nun; and wacky, childlike Sister Mary Amnesia, who lost her memory when a crucifix fell on her head. The entertainment that they present includes solo star turns, madcap dance routines, and an audience quiz. It’s a “don’t-miss” laughfest!

And finally….as you are doing your holiday shopping, remember that tickets to a show are a fabulous gift. Whether you purchase actual tickets or gift certificates (The Grand and the PAC each have opportunities for shows in their venues), it’s a great way to support our local citizen-artists and give a great gift.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday season. See you at the theatre!

Joseph Ferlo is Director of The Grand Opera House in Downtown Oshkosh, and a 30-year theatre veteran as director and performer. He will portray Jean Valjean in Hysterical Productions’ LES MISÉRABLES in March 2014. Send your theatre “tips” and show information directly to Joe at

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