A BLUEGRASS CHRISTMAS: There’s a holiday show out there on just about every stage this time of year, and a lot of them are kinda the same. Not so with One Thirty Productions’ A Sanders Family Christmas at Bath House Cultural Center. While it does feature a slew of familiar Christmas carols, it takes more of a bluegrass approach to the old favorites. It’s the kind of show that could go south in a hurry in the wrong hands. “Director Cheryl Denson has just the right touch for this material, which could easily turn silly or maudlin,” Lawson Taitte writes on dallasnews.com. Perry Stewart of theaterjones.com was also pleased. “A versatile cast fills the cozy Bath House Cultural Center stage with high hilarity, unabashed sentiment and infectious melodies.” Catch the show through Dec. 18.
OUT AND BACK: Tired of reading about holiday shows? There is at least one company out there counter-programming. Broken Gears Project Theatre is staging Gint, by Romulus Linney (Laura’s dad). The show is actually an Appalachian re-imagining of an Ibsen play about a guy looking for adventure and finding it in all the wrong places. And the staging is kept to the barest of minimums. “It is as close to playing pretend as you can get and still sell tickets,” David Novinski writes on theaterjones.com. “But there is an authenticity and naiveté inherent in the production that so mirrors the main character that the whole thing could be a choice and not just wishful serendipity.” Lindsey Wilson was hot and cold on the show on Front Row. “Broken Gears Project Theatre’s sparse, spare staging of Gint comes off more as an imaginative nightmare and less as a redneck joke.” Judge for yourself through Dec. 18.
THE DOWNFALL OF CLASSICAL: OK, that’s about enough theater for one day. Let’s talk classical music for a sec. Plenty has been written about the struggles that symphonies are facing to stay alive and relevant. But solutions to the problem are hard to come by. As The Denver Post writes, “classical music is confronting an increasingly unsustainable combination of escalating costs, sagging philanthropy, aging audiences and declining attendance.” That’s from the first of a three part series that started this week, in which the paper is detailing the problems and offering some solutions. You’ll have to check back on Sunday for more of the solutions.