Take a break from shopping or caroling with a stage show — comedy, classics and clowning are on tap this season. Check out:
Sweet Can Circus
“Candid” is the latest production from the talented acrobatic troupe that uses dinner plates, chairs, brooms and hula hoops as magical props. The new show, an update on the popular “Yes Sweet Can,” features music composed by EO.
- When: Dec. 17-Jan. 9
- Where: Mission Dance Theater, 3316 24th St., S.F.
- Contact: (415) 225-7281, www.sweetcanproductions.com
Great Dickens Christmas Fair
The 34th annual Victoriana holiday fair celebrates Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday with vintage-style yuletide entertainments, arts and crafts vendors, costumed revelers and more.
- When: Nov. 23-Dec. 23
- Where: Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave., Daly City
- Contact: (800) 510-1558, www.dickensfair.com</li>
Beach Blanket Babylon
Steve Silver’s holiday version of the popular San Francisco-set musical revue takes the stage for the 38th year.
- When: Nov. 14-Dec. 31
- Where: Club Fugazi, 678 Beach Blanket Babylon Blvd. (Green Street), S.F.
- Contact: (415) 421-4222, www.beachblanketbabylon.com
It’s a Wonderful Life
Marin Theatre Co. presents a live radio play based on Frank Capra’s cinematic classic about everyman George Bailey, who learns that “no man is a failure who has friends” (with a bit of divine intervention).
- When: Nov. 23-Dec. 16
- Where: 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley
- Contact: (415) 388-5208, marintheatre.org
A Christmas Carol
American Conservatory Theater’s 36th annual presentation based on Charles Dickens’ novel, adapted by Paul Walsh and Carey Perloff, features a rich score by Karl Lundeberg, choreography by Val Caniparoli and the great James Carpenter as Ebenezer Scrooge.
- When: Nov. 30-Dec. 24
- Where: American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary St., S.F.
- Contact: (415) 749-2228, www.act-sf.org
The S.F. Early Music Society presents the distinguished chamber ensemble in a colorful and festive program of Christmas music in 18th-century France, Germany and Italy.
- When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2
- Where: St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1111 O’Farrell St., S.F.
- Contact: www.sfems.org
3Girls Squared: Holiday Showcase
3Girls Theatre Company’s seasonal comedy offering features “nine short plays for the holidays that put the fun in dysfunction” written by nine Bay Area female playwrights.
- When: Dec. 6-16
- Where: Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason St., SF.
- Contact: (415) 275-0348, www.3girlstheatre.org
A Little House Christmas
The Peninsula Youth Theatre Stories on Stage production features “Mr. Edwards meets Santa Claus” and “The Christmas Horses,” based on prairie tales by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
- When: 9:30 and 11 a.m. Dec. 7; 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8
- Where: Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View
- Contact: (650) 903-6000, www.mvcpa.com
The African-American Shakespeare Company’s enchanting take on the classic fairy tale has become a popular Bay Area holiday tradition.
- When: Dec. 8-23
- Where: Buriel Clay Theater, African-American Art & Culture Complex, 762 Fulton St., S.F.
- Contact: (800) 838-3006, www.african-americanshakes.org
The troupe celebrates the holidays flamenco-style with a concert titled “Diez Por Arriba”; the counterpoint to the season’s traditional programs features guests from the fields of rock, opera and jazz.
- When: 8 p.m. Dec. 12-15, 3 p.m. Dec. 16
- Where: ODC Theater, 3153 17th St., S.F.
- Contact: (415) 863-9834, www.odctheater.org
Crones for the Holidays
The improv comedy piece by Terry Baum, slightly world-renowned lesbian playwright, and Carolyn Myers, retired warrior princess of comedy, invites the audience to celebrate the joys and oy-veys of Christmas, Hannukah, solstice and the rumored Mayan apocalypse.
- When: Dec. 15-30
- Where: Stage Werx, 446 Valencia St., S.F.
- Contact: (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com
Paula Poundstone Christmas Special
The iconic 1980s comedian performs her annual holiday stand-up comedy show.
- When: 8 p.m. Dec. 15
- Where: Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, 3601 Lyon St., S.F.
- Contact: (800) 745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com
Kung Pao Kosher Comedy
The 25th anniversary of the event — Jewish comics doing standup in a Chinese restaurant — features Judy Gold, Adrianne Tolsch, Mike Capozzola and hostess Lisa Geduldig.
- When: Dec. 22-25
- Where: New Asia Restaurant, 772 Pacific Ave., S.F.
- Contact: (925) 855-1986, www.koshercomedy.com