Staged Alternatives 

A nativity play in disarray, Dickens as farce and a Scientology musical. Richmond theaters reconfigure the classics for this holiday season's stage offerings.

“A Tuna Christmas” at Swift Creek Mill Theatre
Two actors, two-dozen characters and loads of small-town mayhem make for a zany good time in “A Tuna Christmas,” playing at Swift Creek Mill Theatre in Colonial Heights. Through Jan. 10. 748-5203.

“Sanders Family Christmas” at Barksdale Theatre at Hanover Tavern
The warm but mildly wacky family of gifted musicians from Barksdale's 2007 hit, “Smoke on the Mountain,” is back to spread musical cheer for the holidays through a ton of songs and live music. Through Jan. 25. 282-2620.

“This Wonderful Life” at  Barksdale Theatre at Willow Lawn
Local acting wizard Scott Wichmann plays all the residents of Bedford Falls — from good-guy George Bailey to miserly Mr. Potter — in the stage adaptation of a screen classic at the Barksdale. Nov. 28-Jan. 11. 282-2620.

“Inspecting Carol” at Sycamore Rouge
It'll be worth a trip south to Petersburg's Sycamore Rouge for the reconfiguring of “A Christmas Carol” into a slamming-door farce. Mistaken identities and a not-so-Tiny Tim add to the frenetic hilarity. Dec. 4-Dec. 20. 957-5707.

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” at Theatre IV
A reprobate clan disrupts the usually sedate nativity play in one of Theatre IV's perennial favorites. Musical fun and lessons about inclusion abound! Dec. 5-Dec. 21. 783-1688.

“A Christmas Carol for Two Actors” at Richmond Shakespeare
A holiday classic streamlined for a small cast, this one's been entertaining the company's fans for years. The best bet for unadulterated Scrooge. Dec. 11-Dec. 21. 232-4000.

“A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant” at Firehouse Theatre
Hands-down, the most intriguing holiday offering will be the last production opening this season at the Firehouse Theatre. The musical starring kids is a satirical look at the life of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. Dec. 18-Jan. 18. 355-2001.


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