If you’re looking for a joyful way to feel a little extra Christmas-y this holiday season, might I suggest Santa Claus: The Musical at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse? This one-hour children’s-theatre offering packs a solid punch of yuletide warmth, and no matter how old you are, I wager you will appreciate this charming little tale.

On Saturday night, I had the great pleasure of introducing a friend to The Producers. Her only prior knowledge of the show was me incessantly singing “Springtime for Hitler” at her and my assurances that the musical was funny. And director and Spotlight Theatre co-owner owner Brent Tubbs and his talented cast of 29 held up their end of the bargain, offering a virtual – and visual – smorgasbord of humor.

If you were to tell me a marriage could teeter on the brink of destruction simply due to the addition of a dog … I’d have countered that no one would let canine conflict get that far. Only that’s exactly what happens in the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's production of Sylvia, written by A.R. Gurney and directed by Kathy Graham. Friday’s performance ultimately left me feeling like I am killing it with marriage, as both my husband and I agree on our position on getting a dog: While they’re great, dog ownership simply isn’t for us.

If you’re looking for a sentimental story that slowly sneaks up on you, might I suggest The Christmas Letter Writing Club at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre?

During Thursday's opening-night performance and area premiere of Ride the Cyclone, Ryan J. Hurdle’s character Ricky stops at one point in his song “Space Age Bachelor Man” and says, “It gets weird now.” But oh, gentle readers, that ship sailed from the moment the lights went down.

William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of those plays whose audiences are at least vaguely familiar with. Clearly, familiarity pays off, as Sunday’s performance was about as packed as I’ve ever seen at a Genesius Guild performance. And what a great night to come out and experience what the company had to offer, because director Jeremy Mahr and his cast delivered quite a lighthearted night.

Given the stunning, twinkling backdrop with projections designed by Larry Lord, the collectively gentle demeanor of the five actors, and the relatively calm pacing, Jennifer Kingry's show is a glimmering lullaby of a production that’s quite unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

Do you have an inner monologue? You know: the innermost part of your brain that says what you actually think, or the part of you that knows you’re awesome even if you have difficulty outwardly expressing that to others? In Alex Richardson’s new play Your Better Self, currently running at the Mockingbird on Main, the audience is granted the chance to listen to its female characters' “better selves,” resulting in some great comedy and a fair bit of introspection.

From my perspective, it’s always fascinating to hear from the director before a Genesius Guild production, and on Saturday night, Jill Sullivan-Bennin’s thoughts on Electra were certainly enlightening. Grief, it seems, is as timeless as life itself. And Sophocles’ tragedy certainly hammers the message in: Stephanie Burrough’s Electra spent nearly the entire show lamenting about the awfulness of everything in her life.

I think exposure to the theatre is so important for kids, and Circa 21's children’s show Madagascar: A Musical Adventure, directed by Brad Hauskins, did not disappoint, with life lessons continually pouring through the plot.

Pages