Black Nativity at Karamu:
The Gospel According to Langston HughesA soulful retelling of the Gospel of St. Luke from an African-American perspective, this passionate piece of family theater was written in 1961 by Karamu's most celebrated alumnus, Langston Hughes. It has gone on to become a seasonal staple at the venerable theater: an inspiring, feel-good performance filled with dancing, preaching, gospel-inspired singing, and colorful costumes. This year's show is directed by Richard H. Morris. Regular performances continue at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and at 3 p.m. Sundays through December 30. Tickets are $10 to $30 at 216-795-7077 or karamuhouse.org. Karamu House is at 2355 East 89th St. — Elaine T. Cicora
A Christmas Carol: Former artistic director Gerald Freedman's evergreen adaptation of Dickens' classic tale returns to Great Lakes Theater for its 23rd year. For a little added spirit, catch a performance by St. Joseph Academy's Cecelia's Song choir in the Ohio Theatre lobby prior to the Thursday, December 22 performance. The show continues through December 23 at the Ohio Theatre, 1511 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $26 to $60 at 216-241-6000 or online at greatlakestheater.org.
The Game's Afoot (or Holmes for the Holidays): Cleveland Play House presents a world premiere by award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig. A sprightly murder mystery/comedy, the action takes place in a Connecticut mansion on Christmas Eve, where murder — and hilarity — ensue. Performances continue through December 24 at the Allen Theatre, 1407 Euclid Ave. at Playhouse Square. Tickets are $49 to $69 at 216-241-6000 or at clevelandplayhouse.com.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat: Last year's box-office smash is back at Beck Center through December 31. One of the earliest collaborations between Andrew Lloyd Webber (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics), the campy musical — a humorous retelling of the biblical story of Joseph of Canaan — traces its roots back to the late 1960s, when it debuted as a 15-minute "pop cantata." Through the years, it has grown ever more splashy, eventually incorporating slapstick humor, reggae riffs, and even an Elvis-impersonating pharaoh. For Beck's exuberant production, artistic director Scott Spence shares the helm with choreographer Martin Cespedes. Tickets are $10 to $28 and are available by calling 216-521-2540 or online at beckcenter.org. Beck Center is at 17801 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood.