by Justin Brady
This joyous season can also be stressful, so I recommend grabbing your friends and shaking up your routine with a night out on Mass Avenue. During December IndyFringe, Theatre on the Square and the Phoenix Theatre all offer their own unique and often hilarious holiday shows. And while you're in the area, knock off some of the items on your gift-giving list by visiting a few of the many quirky shops. Then stop in for a pre-show drink at the one of the festively decorated bars. After all, these outrageous shows are best when served with your favorite cocktail.
The Second Annual Three Dollar Bill Christmas Show
IndyFringe Basile Theatre, Dec. 13-21
Three Dollar Bill Comedy is known for adding shock-value to beloved family classics as seen in IndyFringe hit parody shows Schoolhouse Wrong and We May Very Well Be Sued: A Dalt Wisney Tribute. Here they return with what is promised to be an R-rated sketch comedy satirical holiday show. Trust me, nothing is off limits with this group. Those of you morning radio listeners might recognize a few of the voices;the cast includes Will Pfaffenberger producer on the Smiley Radio Show and frequent guest, funny-lady Claire Wilcher.
Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge
Theatre on the Square, Nov. 22-Dec. 21
The Christmas Carol is turned on its head by absurdist playwright Christopher Duran in Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge. It seems Gladys Cratchit has her own case of bah-humbug and would prefer tequila sunrises to Christmas pudding. In this version, not even Tiny Tim is safe from Mrs. Cratchit's rage. The show features Theatre on the Square regular Nan Macy as the leading lady.
A Very Phoenix X-Mas 8: Angels We Have Heard While High
Phoenix Theatre, Nov. 29-Dec. 22, 2013
The Phoenix once again gathers a collection of delightful sketches and songs to provide the perfect break from the holiday stress. The whimsical (and dancing) instrumental trio Fourth Wall Ensemble adds to the festivities for the second year. Last year's highlights included Skating from A Charlie Brown Christmas, performed while "skating" around on rolling chairs. The cast includes Indy stage favorites Paul Hansen, Scot Greenwell, Eric Olson, Ryan O'Shea and Lynn Wilhite.
Looking to stick with tradition?
If your idea of happy holidays includes cozying up to the classics, Indianapolis venues have plenty of performances to offer. Here's a sampling of the city's festive fare: