Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s “A Christmas Carol.”
Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s “A Christmas Carol.”

This month, Baltimore theater companies are presenting a variety of contemporary adaptations, including Christmas favorites, biblical stories, a Greek tragedy, “The Wizard of Oz” and even a wordless acrobatic interpretation of the 1954 epic film “The Seven Samurai.” No doubt, Baltimore’s theater practitioners are a creative bunch. This month is also the first full musical production (“The Wiz”) by the excellent ArtsCentric in its new space at 2600 Howard St., and the first show by brand-new theater company Charm City Classics Co. (“The Santaland Diaries,” based on the David Sedaris book). Read on to see what stories–old and new–are available for your end-of-year enjoyment.

Christmas Stories
“Christmas is Comin’ Uptown,”
presented by Arena Players, through Dec. 15, at 801 McCulloh St., info/tickets.
In this adaptation of “A Christmas Carol,” Scrooge is a Harlem slumlord visited by his late partner and the ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

“The Santaland Diaries,” presented by Charm City Classics Co., Dec. 6-15, at Old Major Bar, 900 S. Carey St., info/tickets.
“The Santaland Diaries” is the first production by new Baltimore theater company Charm City Classics Co. Based on a popular book by comic writer David Sedaris, the play follows a Grinch-like Crumpet the Elf, one of Santa’s helpers at Santaland in Macy’s Department Store.

“A Christmas Carol,” presented by Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Dec. 6-24, at 7 S. Calvert St., info/tickets.
CSC’s perennial adaption of the Dickens classic is set in Victorian Baltimore, with references to local landmarks and history as well as an all-local cast of actors.

“Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer: The Musical,” presented Dec. 24 at the Modell Lyric, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave., info/tickets.
The 1964 stop-motion TV special comes to life in this stage adaptation, which features all the favorite characters, including Rudolph, Santa and the Abominable Snow Monster.

“The Wiz,”
presented by ArtsCentric, Dec. 7-Jan. 12, at 2600 N. Howard St., info/tickets.
Featuring an all-black cast, the Motown-produced version of “The Wizard of Oz” reflects contemporary African-American culture with a Harlem schoolteacher, Dorothy, who travels through an urban dream version of New York City with sidekicks Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion to meet the mysterious Wiz.

“Godspell,” presented by UMBC Musical Theatre Club, Dec. 7-8, at UMBC Commons, 1000 Hilltop Circle, info/tickets.
Featuring hit “Day by Day” and based on the Gospel of Matthew, the 1971 musical features eight non-Biblical characters who sing and act out the parables.

“Jesus Christ Superstar,” presented by Broadway Across America, Dec. 17-22, at Hippodrome Theatre, 12 N. Eutaw St., info/tickets.
This 1970 rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice follows the final weeks of Jesus Christ through the eyes of Judas and includes songs like “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and “Superstar.”

“Bare,” presented by Iron Crow Theatre, Dec. 6-15, at Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St., info/tickets.
This coming-of-age rock musical follows a group of high school renegades at a Catholic co-ed boarding school as they wrestle with their sexuality, religion and identity.

“She Stoops to Conquer,”
presented by Fells Point Corner Theatre, through Dec. 15, 251 S. Ann St., info/tickets.
The comedy takes place over the course of a day at a dilapidated country house Young Marlow mistakes for an inn, where he falls in love with who he thinks is a serving girl, but is, in fact, the woman his father has arranged for him to marry. Misunderstandings delight, and all’s well that ends well.

“The Foreigner,” presented by Spotlighters Theatre, Dec. 13-22, at 817 St. Paul St., info/tickets.
The comedy set in a fishing lodge in Georgia involves two Englishmen, one of whom takes on the guise of a foreigner who doesn’t speak English and to whom the lodge’s guests share their secrets and scandals.

“Men on Boats,” presented by Baltimore Center Stage, through Dec. 22, 700 N. Calvert St., info/tickets.
This 2015 comedy by Jaclyn Backhaus features an all-female and non-binary cast of male explorers set off to chart the American West, under the guidance of John Wesley Powell, a one-armed Civil War Veteran and personal friend of President Grant.

“7 (x1) Samurai,” presented by David Gaines, Dec. 21-22, at Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St., info/tickets.
The epic 1954 film “The Seven Samurai” is distilled into an hour-long solo show with an acrobatic, wordless interpretation.

“Girls on a Dirt Pile,”
presented by UMBC Theatre, through Dec. 8, at UMBC Fine Arts Building, 1000 Hilltop Circle, info/tickets.
The world-premiere dystopian dramedy by area playwright Susan McCully tackles #MeToo issues through the myth of Demeter and Persephone.

“Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” presented by Coppin Repertory Theatre, Dec. 5-9, at The Theatre Lab, Grace Hill Jacobs Building, Lower Level, 2500 W. North Ave., info/tickets.
This second of August Wilson’s 10 plays that examine African American life in the twentieth century is set in 1911 and grapples with the ramifications of the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation through characters at a Pittsburgh boarding house.

“Little Women,” presented by the Strand Theater, Dec. 6-22, at 5426 Harford Road, info/tickets.
The stage adaptation features Louisa May Alcott’s beloved coming-of-age story of the March sisters in Civil War-era Massachusetts, celebrating its 150th anniversary of publication.

“Murder on the Orient Express,” presented by Everyman Theatre, through Jan. 5, at 315 W. Fayette St., info/tickets.
Agatha Christie’s mystery unfolds on a train full of suspects, each with a motive and an alibi in this new adaptation by Ken Ludwig.

Corrections: An earlier version of this post misspelled the name of Jaclyn Backhaus, the playwright of “Men on Boats.” It also said the play has an all-female cast. The actors are female and non-binary. Baltimore Fishbowl regrets the errors.

Cassandra Miller

Cassandra Miller writes about theater for Baltimore Fishbowl. Regionally, she has written about the arts for Baltimore magazine, Bmore Art, City Paper, DC Metro Theater Arts, The Bad Oracle, Greater Baltimore...