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Less Sugar, More Spice

 Six shows to beat the holiday "mehs."

Seen it, loved it: The Nutcracker
This year, catch: The Lion King
The Tony Award–winning Broadway version of the 1994 Disney blockbuster is an eye-popping, heart-pounding, boy- and girl-pleasing alternative to insipid Clara and the weird guy in the mouse costume. Through Jan. 13, 2013, Orpheum Theatre.

Seen it, loved it: Velveteen Rabbit
This year, catch: The White Snake
For kids who’ve graduated from nursery room friendships to more serious bonds, The White Snake is a gorgeous, 90-minute retelling of an ancient Chinese fable about a magical serpent who falls in love with a human. Through Dec. 23, Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Seen it, loved it: The Hard Nut
This year, catch: The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes
This Trannyshack show features four of the city’s drag luminaries channeling everybody’s favorite ‘80s-sitcom quartet, complete with garish holiday sweaters and vintage Betty White raunch. Dec. 6–30, Victoria Theatre.

Seen it, loved it: A Chanticleer Christmas
This year, catch: Yes Sweet Can
Sweet Can’s talented performers transform ordinary objects—trash bins, rugs, brooms—into props for 70 minutes of circuslike fun set to the infectious musical stylings of a one-man band. Dec. 21–24, Dance Mission Theater.

Seen it, loved it: S.F. Gay Men’s Chorus’s Santa Concert
This year, catch: Crones for the Holidays
Up the seasonal ante with a couple of wisecracking, comedy-sketching feminists and their wild, blasphemous songs. (“The 12 Days of Family Insults,” anyone?) Dec. 15–30, Stage Werx Theatre.

Seen it, loved it: A Christmas Carol
This year, catch: Selected Shorts: Hilarious and Cozy Holiday Tales
Public Radio International’s live readings by acclaimed actors (including The Sopranos’ Michael Imperioli) are more unexpected than Dickens yet, in a close-your-eyes-and-be-transported way, kinda Dickensian. Dec. 8–9.


Originally published in the December 2012 issue of San Francisco.

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