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Holiday on stage

What's playing in local theaters for the holidays

It’s a Wonderful Life, drawing by James Stowe, brightens up Lakewood Playhouse. Photo courtesy Lakewood Playhouse

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With lots of schmaltz and lots of good cheer, live theater in the South Sound is gearing up for holiday shows.

Lakewood Playhouse. The most touching, feel-good holiday show of all time is coming to Lakewood Playhouse this season. You've seen it in countless reruns on TV and probably shed a tear over it. It's the all-time holiday classic It's a Wonderful Life. You can be assured that the good angel Clarence will prove once again that if good ol' George Bailey had never been born, the town of Bedford Falls would be a far less wonderful town. You can also rest assured that the stage version will be just enough like the film and just enough different to leave you feeling grand.

It's a Wonderful Life, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25 to Dec. 18, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd., Lakewood, lakewoodplayhouse.org

Tacoma Little Theatre. Not to be outdone on the feel-good schmaltz, Tacoma Little Theatre is doing that other perennial favorite, Miracle on 34th Street. Good old Kris Kringle, the real Santa, will be hired as a fake Santa at Macy's and will be compelled to prove to the powers that be that he's not insane.

Miracle on 34th Street, 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25 to Dec. 24, 210 North I Street, Tacoma, tacomalittletheatre.com

Tacoma Musical Playhouse is presenting two big holiday shows this year. First comes the joyful musical Meet Me in St. Louis, based on the hit movie of the same name and featuring such popular songs as "The Boy Next Door," "The Trolley Song," and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

Meet Me in St. Louis, 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 25 to Dec. 18, 7116 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, tmp.org

And at TMP's other space, The Spire, it's the rollicking Southern fried comedy A Tuna Christmas, with two women playing 22 parts, male and female, with fast costume changes and lots of silliness.

A Tuna Christmas, 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2-17, 710 S. Anderson St., Tacoma, tmp.org

Centerstage continues its holiday tradition of British-style Pantos. These wild, audience-participation shows make fun of popular fairy tales with cross-dressing actors, rock ‘n' roll, and jokes that children love. (Adults "get" the hidden and usually risqué meanings.) This year it's a delightfully skewed retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.

Little Red Riding Hood, 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 26 to Dec. 22, Knutzen Family Theatre, 3200 SW Dash Point Road, Federal Way, centerstagetheatre.com

Olympia Family Theatre will do The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, a family entertainment with a mixed-generational cast and a few favorite Christmas Carols.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 25 to Dec. 18, 612 4th Ave. E., Olympia, olyft.org

Harlequin Productions continues its seemingly never-ending "Stardust" series with The Stardust Christmas Enchantment, a lighthearted look at the Stardust Club in Manhattan in 1960 as the club's band, singers, and wait staff celebrate the election of John F. Kennedy with comedy and songs of the day.

The Stardust Christmas Enchantment, 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25 to Dec. 31, 202 4th Ave. E., Olympia, harlequinproductions.org

Olympia Little Theatre offers something different with A Christmas Cactus, a lighthearted romp of a murder mystery for the holiday season.

A Christmas Cactus, 7:25 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 1:55 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2-18, 1925 Miller Ave. NE, Olympia, olympialittletheater.org

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