Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat:
Dressed to Thrill at the Beck
A box-office smash during its 2010 run, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat 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 at 216-521-2540 or online at beckcenter.org. The Beck is at 17801 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood. — 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. Catch a performance by a local choir in the Ohio Theatre lobby prior to select performances. 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.
Black Nativity: A soulful retelling of the Gospel of St. Luke from an African-American perspective, this passionate piece of family theater was written by Karamu's most celebrated alumnus, Langston Hughes. Performances continue through December 30 at Karamu House, 2355 East 89th St. Tickets are $10 to $30 at 216-795-7077 or karamuhouse.org.
Conni's Avant Garde Restaurant: Home for the Hollandaise: Putting a whole new spin on the "dinner theater" notion, Cleveland Public Theatre brings back this hilarious piece of devised entertainment, complete with a five-course dinner prepared and served by a cast of zany characters. Performances continue through December 18 at 6415 Detroit Ave. Your $60 ticket includes dinner, beverages, and unlimited visits to the laugh buffet. Make reservations by phone at 216-631-2727 or visit cptonline.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.
The Internationalist: Convergence-Continuum completes its 2011 season with Anne Washburn's dark and muddled comedy for the age of globalization. Unfortunately, "if Washburn has something interesting to say ... it goes unsaid here," according to our house critic, Christine Howey. Performances continue through December 17 at the Liminis, 2438 Scranton Rd. in Tremont. Tickets are $10 to $15 at 216-687-0074 or convergence-continuum.org.
The Santaland Diaries: Cleveland Public Theatre once again presents author David Sedaris' funny tale of Santa's most beleaguered department-store elf. Afterward, join the lascivious Loush Sisters for some yuletide gaiety. Performances continue through December 17 at the 14th Street Theatre, 2037 East 14th St. at Playhouse Square. Tickets are $20 to $30, available at 216-241-6000 or online at cptonline.org.
The Seafarer: Dobama Theater presents a funny, chilling, heart-wrenching work by award-winning Irish playwright Conor McPherson. The action takes place on Christmas Eve in the home of two aging bachelor brothers: one blind and on a bender, the other jobless and on the wagon. When a mysterious stranger drives their booze-soaked poker game to the highest stakes possible, you just know that Irish-style weirdness is in the cards. Directed by Scott Miller; performances continue through December 18 at 2340 Lee Rd. in Cleveland Heights. Tickets are $10 to $26 at 216-932-3396 or online at dobama.org.