While there is a load of excitement building up to the flurry of Christmas day, there are many holiday performances through December that are sure to create fond memories. Here is a look at a few of them.

A Christmas Carol Times Two. What is Christmas time without seeing a production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol?” To start, you might want to see the holiday tradition production that’s at The Public Theatre in Lewiston. The production is an adaptation of the Dickens novel written by the theatre’s artistic director, Christopher Schario. In a simplified version of the elaborate story, Schario’s script tells the tale with an intimate set, six actors and a fiddler; all centered around the journey of Ebenezer Scrooge from tight-fisted miser to a cheerful, warm-hearted spirit on Christmas day.

This year brings A Christmas Carol to the newly founded Freeport Factory Stage on Depot Street in the heart of Maine’s shopping Mecca, Freeport. Broadway veteran, Will Rhys, bring his one-man show of the Dickens’ classic to the 90-seat performance space. With background music, a bare stage and minimal props, Rhys creates the 19th-century London and environs and the rich array of characters that includes Scrooge’s family and associates as well as the Christmas ghosts.

According to a biography of Dickens, as the second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, Dickens came to know not only hunger and deprivation, but also the horror of the infamous debtors’ prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and “slave” factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years of formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. Later in life, short stories and newspaper serials brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life.

On Stage in South Portland. One of the oldest community theatres in the country, The Portland Players, will present the stage musical, “White Christmas” through December 11 at the Cottage Road theater. This wonderful Christmas musical chronicles the trials and travails of two army buddies as they attempt to save the country inn of their old army commander. The show glistens with the most well-known music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, one of America’s music giants.

The stage version of White Christmas is based on the 1954 movie of the same title that starred Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen. Brought to the musical stage in 2004, the highlight of the show is Berlin’s classic tune that begins with “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.”

According to top40.about.com, “White Christmas” is the best-selling song of all time with sales of 50-million copies.

Hallelujah: The Messiah Sing A Long.  Your parents always told you to be quiet during a concert. Here is one concert where you are encouraged to sing along with the orchestra.

Handel’s “Messiah,” though written for Easter time, has always been a month-of-December / Christmas-time favorite. The concept for the sing-along is quite simple.

An orchestra gathers to play the music from the famous piece written in 1741. Guest artists perform the soloist’s parts while all audience members are encouraged to sing the choral arrangements including the stirring, “Hallelujah Chorus.”

A participant from previous sing-alongs says that energy and spirit is far more important than musical talent. “If you have a copy of the score, bring it with you,” she noted, though copies of the chorus sections are often available at the sing-along. “It is a great spiritual gathering where anyone can perform the magnificent piece of music.”

Performance info

“A Christmas Carol” at The Public Theatre at 31 Maple Street in Lewiston. Performances are Dec. 9 at 7 p.m., Dec. 10 at 2 p.m., Dec. 10 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets at 782-3200. www.thepublictheatre.org

“A Christmas Carol” One-man show

Freeport Factory Stage, 5 Depot Street,Freeport

Dec. 8 at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets at 865-5505. www.freeportfactory.com.

“White Christmas” at Portland Players, 420 Cottage Road, South Portland. Through December 11. Tickets at 799-7337. www.portlandplayers.org.

Choral Art Society’s Messiah Sing-Along at St. Patrick’s Church, 1342 Congress Street in Portland. 7:30 p.m. Tickets at the door. www.choralart.org.


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