Don’t miss these 6 holiday hits

Fun family theatre from Peter Pan and The Lorax to The Nutcracker


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‘The Lorax’ on Toronto stages now

The Belle of the ball
This year, Young People’s Theatre (YPT) is mounting the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast, and they’ve put together a wonderful team to bring the story to life. Leading the way, and making her YPT debut is Celine Tsai as Belle, who is fresh from an appearance at the Musical Stage Co.’s UnCovered concert series at Koerner Hall, alongside the likes of Brent Carver and Jackie Richardson. And how about Damien Atkins as Lumiere? Surely fantastique. YPT never disappoints. Beauty and the Beast runs until Dec. 31, Youngpeoplestheatre.ca.

Speaking for the trees
There is something special about Dr. Seuss, especially around the holidays. And although watching Jim Carrey as the Grinch the hundred or so times it will air on TV is a guaranteed good time, the fine folks at Mirvish have plucked another Seuss gem for one of their holiday productions: The Lorax. This wonderful environmental fable tells the story of the Once-ler and his boyhood hunt for Truffula trees. This production, which has its North American premiere at the venerable Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, is straight from London’s Old Vic theatre where it was dubbed the best family production since Matilda (which, as you might recall, was pretty wonderful). The Lorax runs Dec. 9 to Jan. 21, Mirvish.com.

Peter Pan
This Soulpepper production is part of the theatre company’s Family Festival, which puts on a slew of works ideal for this time of year. On offer is the Bad Hats Theatre production of Peter Pan, which scooped up three Dora Mavor Moore awards last year including the prize for best theatre for young audiences. Here, the well-worn story of a boy in Neverland who refuses to grow up is given the musical treatment. It stars Fiona Sauder as Peter and — added bonus — ticket holders who use the Cherry Street entrance will also get in to the Christmas Market free of charge. Peter Pan runs from Dec. 8 to 31, Soulpepper.ca.

Pinocchio
Just when we were starting to think Ross Petty was the only pantomime game in town, along comes this upstart from the other side of the river in the city’s east end. Pinocchio: A Merry Magical Pantomime was created by the husband-and-wife team of Rob Torr and Dora Award–winning choreographer Stephanie Graham. The cast for this night of holiday hijinks and sing-alongs includes Kevin Aichele, Ryan Brown, Cynthia Hicks and many more. Pinocchio plays at the Royal Canadian Legion, 243 Coxwell Ave., located across from the absolutely delicious Godspeed Brewery. It runs Dec. 22 to 31, Torrentproductions.com.

Nutcracker
Since its premiere in 1995, one could easily make the argument that the National Ballet of Canada’s production of The Nutcracker has become the show to see in the city during the holiday season. It is one of the finest of its kind,  featuring choreography by James Kudelka, and it is full of so much Christmas cheer one can almost smell the yule logs a-burning. It is a day to dress up the children and head downtown, and perhaps walk over to Nathan Phillips Square following the show. It’s a magical memory that all Torontonians deserve to have. It runs Dec. 9 to 30, National.ballet.ca.

It's a Wonderful Life
The Lower Ossington Theatre takes audiences back to Christmas Eve in Bedford Falls circa 1947 as they bring the beloved classic film It’s a Wonderful Life to the stage this month in a live radio play. It’s a Wonderful Life runs on weekends, Friday to Sunday, until Dec. 30, Lowerossingtontheatre.com.

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Ron Johnson is the editor of Post City Magazines. Follow him on Twitter @TheRonJohnson.

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