'Twas two weeks before Christmas and all through T.O., actors, dancers and comics were perfecting their show. If you’ve had enough of holiday shopping, parties and muzak Xmas carols, take in a festive stage show. Naughty or nice, there’s something for everyone.
What: Aladdin, The Magical Family Musical (to December 31 at the Elgin, 416-872-5555)
Synopsis: Ross Petty puts a panto spin on the fairy tale about a boy, a girl, a lamp and three wishes.
Family-friendly? Duh. The word "family" is in the damn title.
Look for: Bret "Hitman" Hart as the Genie.
Funny press release line: "... if you had three wishes and they could all come true, surely one of them would be seeing Wrestling Superstar Bret 'Hitman' Hart."
We wonder... if there will be any tasteless Arab jokes, considering the situation in Iraq. What: The Nutcracker (December 11 to 29 at the Hummingbird Centre, 416-345-9595)
Synopsis: A nutcracker comes to life on Christmas Eve.
Family-friendly? Is the Sugar Plum Fairy sweet?
Look for: The great big egg. And the scene where the Christmas tree grows. Seriously.
Funny press release line: Isn’t the title funny enough?
We wonder... why Sheila (Steel Magnolias) Copps couldn’t be one of the "celebrity" cameos. What: Tricks (December 9 to January 2 at Artword Theatre, 416-872-1111)
Synopsis: Magician David Ben opens his bag of you-know-what to shock and amaze.
Family-friendly? Recommended for ages eight and up.
Look for: Magic up-close-and-personal. Ben ain’t no David Copperfield.
Funny press release line: "The magic was inspired by Frank Sinatra, Tom Waits, Glenn Gould, Erik Satie and the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan."
We wonder... what Tom Waits would think of that statement. What: Bed And Breakfast (December 18 to January 2 at the Tarragon Extra Space, 416-531-1827)
Synopsis: Sibling puppeteers David and Ann Powell remount their sweet but not saccharine take on the Princess And The Pea story.
Family-friendly? Puppets. Siblings. Fairy tales. Do the math.
Look for: Lots of clever wit and a refreshing feminist twist.
Funny press release line: "Their productions enthrall even the most Nintendo-minded kids."
We wonder... if PlayStation-minded kids will be enthralled, too. What: The Clodhopper Christmas Comedy Hour (December 9 to 17 at the Tim Sims Playhouse, 416-343-0011)
Synopsis: Hilarious duos the Burnt Marshmallows and the Rumoli Brothers team up for a seasonal variety show.
Family-friendly? Rita MacNeil And Friends have nothing to worry about.
Look for: Some good musical parodies – the Rumolis can actually sing. And there’s free Clodhopper candy!
Funny press release line: "Praise Allah for Christmas!"
We wonder... if the Marshmallows will perform their mullet-sporting amateur theatre alter egos Heather and Val. What: Go Stuff Your Stocking Holiday Comedy Special (December 15 at the Tim Sims Playhouse, 416-343-0011)
Synopsis: Self-professed fag hag stand-up Debra DiGiovanni and the queer quartet Oot & Aboot headline a show.
Family-friendly? Probably not to George Dubya. But the show is a funder for the CHUMCity Christmas Wish.
Look for: At least one reference to the lyric "Don we now our gay apparel"
Funny press release line: "Tired of the shopping, family visits and Advent Sundays?"
We wonder... who has the biggest stocking. What: Minnesota Wrecking Crew "Company Xmas Party" (December 18 at the Tim Sims Playhouse, 416-343-0011)
Synopsis: All-guy sketch troupe sends up holiday insanity.
Family-friendly? Hmmm... would you invite your kids to your holiday office party?
Look for: Lots of clever sketches you’ll be relating at the water cooler in 2005.
Funny press release line: "Break out the casual Friday wear and prepare for an evening of seasonal debauchery."
We wonder... who’s gonna photocopy their ass.