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Music at Kohl Mansion. All concerts begin a 7 p.m. Pre-concert talks by musicologist Kai Christiansen begin at 6 p.m. Dec. 15, A Night at the Opera — Gala Holiday Concert. Kohl Mansion, 2750 Adeline Drive, Burlingame. $15-$48. $60 for gala. 650-762-1130 or www.musicatkohl.org/tickets. Audra McDonald, soprano. 7 :30 p.m. Jan. 17. Show tunes, movie songs and original pieces. Bing Concert Hall, 327 Lasuen St., Stanford University. Tickets available to Bing members. General sales to begin in early December. http://live.stanford.edu.
Dragon Theatre, “November.” By David Mamet, Through Dec, 15, Directed by Troy Johnson, Dragon Theatre, 2120 Broadway Street, Redwood City, $15-$35, (Pay-what-you-can preview on Nov, 21; $10 rush tickets on Thursdays and Fridays after opening week), http://dragonproductions.net/activities/2013season/november.html, Hillsdale High chacott pointe shoes School Drama, “In the Heights.” Dec, 5-8, Hillsdale High School Theatre, 3115 Del Monte St., San Mateo, $12- $17; http://hhs.schoolloop.com/drama..
Los Altos Stage Company. “The Sunshine Boys.” Through Dec. 15. By Neil Simon. Directed by Karen Altree Piemme. Featuring Bill C. Jones, Al Fischer, Josh Russell, Gordon Meacham, Katherine Leyva, Scott Stanley and Rene Banks. Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos. $18-$34. www.losaltosstage.org or 650-941-0551. TheatreWorks. “Little Women.” Dec. 4-Jan. 4. Broadway musical adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel. Directed by TheatreWorks Artistic Director Robert Kelley. Previews 8 p.m. Dec. 4-7. Opens Dec. 7. Closes Jan. 4. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays; 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays; 7 p.m. Sundays. Holiday schedule: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 23; dark Dec. 24, 25; 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 26; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 30; 2 p.m. Dec. 31; dark Jan. 1; 8 p.m. Jan. 2; 2, 8 p.m. Jan. 3, 4. Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. $19-$79 (discounts available). theatreworks.org or 650-463-1960.
Hillbarn Theatre, “Mame.” Jerry Herman musical, Dec, 6-22, (Preview Dec, 5.) Hillbarn Theatre, 1285 E, Hillsdale Blvd., Foster City, $19-40; chacott pointe shoes 650-349-6411 or hillbarntheatre.org, Notre Dame de Namur University Department of Theatre and Dance, “A Christmas Carol: The Musical.” Gala, 7 p.m, Dec, 6; $25-$50, Dec, 7-15, free, NDNU Theatre, 1500 Ralston Ave., Belmont, www.christmascarolthegift.org, Duffy Hudson, “A Christmas Carol.” One-man show, 11 a.m, Dec, 7, Menlo Park City Council Chambers, 701 Laurel St., Menlo Park, Free..
The cast of the elaborate production numbers about 100 local dancers, from kindergarten age to adults. Professionals have been hired to dance a few of the lead roles, but the rest of the performers come from the Academy of American Ballet. Ballet America is the Academy’s performance company. The founder of both, Julia Dugan, who directs the production, has streamlined “The Nutcracker” to a fast-moving 95 minutes. It’s designed to appeal to the entire family. Dugan says, “The Nutcracker’ is a ballet for children and about children. So my emphasis is to try to get as many children as possible actually performing in the show, because kids in the audience love to see peers up there dancing. But also, to me, ‘Nutcracker’ should be a charming production. So parts of it are very light and funny. We have a cowboy mouse and the Mouse King, when he dies, usually does some current pop-culture-type dance. We have kind of a heaven scene at the beginning of Act Two, based on a poem called ‘The Sugar-Plum Tree,’ where there’s a gingerbread cat and a chocolate dog, played by kids.
“I try to keep it appealing for young kids to watch, Some people have chacott pointe shoes a different take on it and try to make it a mysterious, very deep-meaning ballet, That’s not my preference, Our spin on it is for it to be a family friendly production, We’ve gotten some feedback from people who’ve seen the big productions in San Francisco, and they’ve actually liked ours better, because there’s just a charm when it’s local talent, because you can see the heart in the dancer.”..
Dugan finds that the Fox is an ideal venue for seeing that heart. “I love the Fox, a beautiful art-deco building, because it has a really great feel to it. It’s an intimate theater, which I like, as do audiences and the dancers. Huge halls sometimes don’t give you that sense of connection or interaction. The Fox is, in every way, a very accessible theater.”. Dugan never tires of this ballet. “I’ve been involved with ‘Nutcracker,’ either dancing or directing, for 35 years. But each year, when I see the kids audition, it brings it to life for me again, because I can see how excited they are about it. It’s really special, a blessing.”.
For many young people, “The Nutcracker” serves as a wondrous introduction to chacott pointe shoes ballet, Dugan says, “The first ballet I saw was ‘The Nutcracker.’ I just loved it, And from the age of 4 on, I wanted to be a ballet dancer, We didn’t have money and we were in a small town, so I didn’t get to do it until I was 11, But I literally begged, from the age of 4 on, because of ‘The Nutcracker.'”, At age 11, Dugan, who grew up in Sacramento, auditioned for “The Nutcracker” for the first time, “I didn’t get in, and I remember crying and crying, And then one year I was Clara, I was Snow Queen, I was Sugar Plum Fairy, So I went through all of the different ranks, Almost all of the different female roles in ‘Nutcracker,’ I have done.”..