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Christmas theater in the West's small towns.

Setting the mood for the holidays, many small towns make Christmas theater performances the focus of their annual celebration. You can join the locals as they cheer a melodrama nea Ashland, stare in disbelief as Scrooge pirouettes on ice skates at Lake Arrowhead, or blink back tears when Tiny Tim invokes season's greeting in Columbia.

At these intimate-size theaters, tickets cost little more than a movie and the actors are friendly, often sharing a crumpet or cup of wassail with you after the show. But just because these towns are small doesn't mean the theater won't be good or even very good. We haven't attended them all, but we know the quality has been excellent at some. We've heard rave reviews from Cannon Beach and Oceano, in the picture above. We mention only performances that offer a seasonal theme.

For more on small-town holiday festivities, turn to page 68.


Bisbee. December 13 through 15: Theatre in the gulch, 32 Brewery Gulch, will present A Bisbee Christmas Show. Shows at 7 on Friday, 3 and on Saturday, and 3 on Sunday. Tickets: $4 adults, $2 ages 12 and under. Call (602) 432-4509.


Columbia. December 5 (preview), 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, and 22: A (Miner's) Christmas Carol, adapted from Dickens, will be performed by the columbia Actors' Repertory in the historic Old Fallon House Theatre, Columbia State Park. The theatre's $1.5-million restoration was completed in 1983. Shows at 8 Fridays and Saturdays; matinees at 2 weekends. For tickets ($4 to $8), call (209) 532-4644 or write to the repertory, Box 1849, Columbia 95310. Theater is also part of a weekend-for-two package ($100) including dinner, breakfast, and lodging at the City Hotel. For details or reservations, write to the hotel, Box 1870, Columbia 95310, or call (209) 532-1479.

Ferndale. November 27 through December 14: Ferndale Repertory Theatre presents Spokesong, a musical celebrating the bicycle, with a special holiday message. Shows at 8:15 Thursday through Saturdays; 2:15 matinees December 8 and 14 Tickets: $7. In addition, the Chamber Reader's Christmas Show of Songs and Stories will be December 20 and 21 at 8:15, December 22 at 2:15. Tickets: $5. The theater is at 447 Main Street; for reservations, call (707) 725-2378.

Grass Valley. December 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21: A Holiday Fantasy will include a one-act opera in English, The Telephone, by Gian Carlo Menotti, followed by a program featuring a family around the Christmas tree, with friends coming to visit; carols are sung. Shows at 8:15 (also at 3 on December 15), in St. Joseph's Hall, Church and Chapel streets. For tickets ($6 and $8), call (916) 272-4725, or write to Music in the Mountains. Box 1451, Nevada City 95959.

Lake Arrowhead. December 20 and 21: A Christmas Carol (Scrooge straps on the blades as part of the history of skating back to the Vikings) will be told on ice at the Ice Castle in Blue Jay Village. Indoor seating costs $8; unreserved tickets (watching through a glass wall from outside) cost $6 adults, $4 children. For more information, call (714) 337-5283.

Nevada City. December 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, and 21: Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales will be performed in California's oldest theater--120 years old. Show times are 7:30 Thursdays, 8 Fridays and Saturdays. For tickets ($5.50 adults, $3.50 age 12 and under), write to Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad St., Nevada City 95959; call (916) 265-6161.

Oceano. November 29 through December 31: Great American Melodrama promises "something for everyone" in a three-part 2-1/2-hour Christmas show. Performances are held in an old drugstore, with sawdust on the floor. Included will be a melodrama of A Christmas Carol, plus the Cinderella Opera, a zany comedy to classical music, and a holiday vaudeville revue; food available. There'll be 44 performance, given Tuesdays through Sundays. Tickets: $8 and $9, $2 off for children and senior. After December 1, tickets are hard to get, but you can get on a waiting list. For details, write to 1827 Pacific Highway, Box 1026, Oceano 93445, or call (805) 489-2499 between 10 and 6 daily.

Placerville. December 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, and and 21: Christmas 1944: A Radio Show will be performed in Theater El Dorado, at El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville. Shows at 8 (also 2:30 on December 15). For ticket information, call (916) 626-3063.

San Juan Bautista. For this season's theater activities, see page 74.


Ashland-Talent. December 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, and 22: The Gilded Cage Players will perform Ebenezer--Scrooge to music--in the Minshall Theater, Box 353, 101 Talent Ave., Talent 97540 (5 miles north of Ashland). Shows at 7:30 (at 2 on December 22). For tickets ($5.50 adults, $3.50 for age 12 and under), write to the theater or call (503) 535-5250.

December 13 through January 6, the Actors workshop offers 15 performances of two plays: C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales, both at the American Legion Hall, 80 Winburn Way. For ticket details, call (503) 482-9659.

December 20 through 22: Rogue Valley Opera and Southern Oregon State College Music Department will perform Amahl and the Night Visitors. Shows the first two nights at 7:30 on campus at the music recital hall on Mountain Avenue, just west of Siskiyou Boulevard. On December 22, it will be at 4 at Medford Senior High School, 1900 N. Keeneway Drive, Medford. For tickets ($5.50 adults, $3.25 students), write or call SOSC Music Department, AttnL Ellison Glattly, Ashland 97520; (503) 482-6101.

Cannon Beach. December 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, and 21: Coaster Theater will present the 2-hour musical Oliver! Cast of 40 shares Victorian treat--tea and crumpets or cider and cakes--with guests after each performance. Shows at 8. The theater is a converted skating rink built in 1900. Reserve tickets ($6) early by writing to Box 643, Cannon Beach 97110; include a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you want tickets mailed to you, or they can be held at the door.


Lander. December 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, and 14: Wyman's Restaurant and Theater, 259 Main StreeT, will present The Christmas Nutcracker, an original adaptation of The Nutcracker. Shows at 8. Tickets: $4.50. Dessert and cocktails available during intermission. For reservations, call (307) 332-2633. The 1880 theater is on Main Street, festooned in colored lights.
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Date:Dec 1, 1985
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