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On Stage: Still Time for the Christmas Spirit

Most holiday shows have finished their runs, but a few still remain.

For weeks, this column has been filled with information about holiday-themed theatrical performances. The season's in full swing, so it’s hard to believe that many of those shows have ended their runs, and that time is running out to catch a show before Christmas.

But you can still get in the Christmas spirit with “White Christmas” at Paper Mill, “A Christmas Carol” at the Shakespeare Theatre and “The Nutcracker” at The Mayo Performing Arts Center.

It’s also time to start making those plans for New Year’s. Villager’s Theatre in Somerset is hosting a New Year’s show and downtown Morristown is hosting its 20th First Night Morris celebration.

And as you’ll see in this week’s On Stage Scoop, there are classes to register for and auditions to prepare for as we head toward 2012. The Scoop runs every Tuesday.

ON STAGE SCOOP:

Dance Classes at Centenary College: Registration is open for dance classes at The Conservatory of Dance at Centenary College. Classes begin Jan. 17 are held in the Lackland Center, located at 715 Grand Ave. in Hackettstown. Classes are taught by Centenary College dance faculty and guest artists. Classes are offered in modern, jazz, ballet, and theater dance. Beginner and advanced classes are also available. Prices are $130 for one class a week, $195 for twice a week and $275 for three a week. Register before Jan. 6 and receive a 15 percent discount. For more information please contact Professor Lea Antolini-Lid at 908-852-1400, ext. 2421 or visit CentenaryStageCo.org.

Dreaming of a White Christmas? Then Head to Paper Mill: Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” is on stage at the  for a run continuing through Dec. 24. The holiday favorite is based on the 1954 movie starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye about two men who open a show in a Vermont inn and fall in love with two singing sisters. The theater is located at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn. For more information, call 973-376-4343 or go to PaperMill.org.

Bah Humbug!  is concluding its 49th season with Neil Bartlett’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” through Jan. 1. The Shakespeare Theatre’s artistic director, Bonnie J. Monte, directs. The production features a cast of nine playing more than 50 roles, with Philip Goodwin leading the way as Ebenezer Scrooge. The cast also includes John Ahlin as Fezziwig and Greg Jackson as Bob Cratchit. Performances are at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre on the campus of  in Madison. For tickets and information, call 973-408-5600 or visit ShakespeareNJ.org.

It’s Nutcracker Time: New Jersey Ballet will perform “The Nutcracker” at  through Dec. 26. The annual favorite features dancing (of course), along with a live orchestra and special effects. Tickets cost $19 to $59. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

All Aboard For Magic:  will host “Choo Choo Charlie’s Magic Show on Dec. 27 with performances at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. In the show geared for kids ages 3 to 8, Choo Choo Charlie is an engineer who created a traveling magic show on a magical train. Tickets cost $12. The theater is located at the , 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morris Township. For more information, call 973-971-3706 or go to the theater’s website.

Audition Alert, “The Little Mermaid:” Pax Amicus Castle Theatre in Budd Lake is holding open auditions for “The Little Mermaid,” on Dec. 29 and Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. The production is part of the theater’s Generation Next Productions. Everyone between the ages of 13 and 18, beginners and experienced performers alike, is invited to audition. The only things you have to bring are a smile and a sense of fun. Performances will be in February. The theater is located at 23 Lake Shore Road in Budd Lake. For more information, call 973-691-2100 or visit PaxAmicus.com.

Magical Mystery Tour: The Brook Arts Center in Bound Brook is hosting the Nelson Illusions Smoke & Mystery Tour, with performances on Dec. 29 at 2 p.m. and Dec. 30 at 7 p.m. The center describes the show as “an extraordinary display of magic and illusion.” Tickets cost $15 to $20 for adults and $10 to $12 for kids, and are available at Mama Rosina’s, Lou’s Sub Shop and  Pranzatelli’s Audio Outlet, and online at TicketWeb.com. For more information, go to BrookArts.org.

Ring in 2012 at Villagers Theatre: Villagers Theatre in Somerset is presenting its 10th Annual New Year’s Eve Gala Beenfit, with two shows on Dec. 31. This year’s show is “The History of Musical Theatre (Part 1)” and will feature a timeline of songs and skills illustrating the evolution of Broadway starring Villagers performers. The early show starts at 7 p.m. and costs $25. The late show begins at 9:30 p.m. and costs $60 per person, including a post-show party with hors d’oeuvres and a midnight champagne toast. For more information, go to VillagersTheatre.com.

First and Foremost: First Night Morris’ 20th anniversary celebration will take place on Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. The festival features more than 70 performances held throughout downtown Morristown, including the . There will be classical music, funk, gospel, blues, salsa, Broadway songs and more. Family fun includes poetry, juggling, face painting, a flea circus and the Harlem Wizards. Buttons cost $25 ($90 for a four-pack), $20 until Dec. 26 ($70 for a four-pack). Buttons can be purchased here. For more information, go to FirstNightMorris.com.

Audition Alert, “By Jeeves:” The Chester Theatre group will host auditions for “By Jeeves” on Jan. 8 (afternoon) and Jan. 10 (evening) at the Black River Playhouse at the corner of Maple and Grover in Chester. Needed are six male performers and two female performers for lead roles, and three ensemble performers (two female, one male). Click here for a character breakdown. Note that vocal ranges are approximate as this is not a big singing show. However, all auditioning must have impeccable British accents, except for the actor playing Budge, who has an over-emphasized American accent).

Winter Theatre Classes at Brundage Park Playhouse: Brundage Park Playhouse will begin its winter theater classes on Jan. 30. Classes are being offered in acting, musical theater dance, modern dance and more. Click here for class descriptions, schedules and prices. Randolph Township is also hosting a Stars on Stage program for children with special needs, beginning Jan. 12 and continuing through March. Click here for more information.

Winter Programs for Kids at Growing Stage: Registration is open for the Growing Stage theater’s Winter Creative Arts Program. Classes are offered for kids ranging from pre-kindergarten to ninth grade. Classes include Creative Dramatics, Performing Arts Workshop, The Actor Speaks and Musical Performance Lab. The theater is located at 7 Ledgewood Ave. in Netcong. Classes begin Jan. 28 and continue through April 21. Click here for more information.

Giving Plays a Chance: Premiere Stages is seeking submissions to the Eighth Annual Premiere Stages Play Festival. The competition for unproduced scripts offers developmental opportunities to four playwrights born or currently residing in the greater metropolitan area (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut). The winner of the festival will be awarded $2,000 and a full Equity production in Premiere’s 2012 season. The runner-up will receive $750 and an Equity workshop in June. Two other writers will receive staged readings in March and a cash prize of $500. Entries are evaluated by a panel of theater professionals in consultation with the artistic director and resident dramaturge. Agents may submit full scripts; playwrights may submit a synopsis and script sample directly. Postmark deadline is Jan. 15, 2012. No entry fee. Complete submission guidelines available at Kean.edu/PremiereStages.

About this column: 'On Stage: A Peek At The Performing Arts' is a weekly look at what's going on in the world of theater, music and other performing arts. It runs Tuesdays.

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