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FAB FIVE for the Weekend

By Jackie Burrell
Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 at 5:45 am in Family Entertainment.

Mark Morris' "The Hard Nut" (Photo courtesy of Cal Performances)
Frothy snowflakes, hard nuts: The classic moves of the “Nutcracker” ballet are all well and good, but once you’ve seen “The Hard Nut,” the Mark Morris Dance Group’s hilarious, irreverent take (pictured above), you may never go back. The snowflakes are magical, the nursemaid a scream, and we swear we spotted someone doing Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” moves in the opening party scene. The production features the Berkeley Symphony in the pit, and the angelic voices of the Piedmont Children’s Choirs too. Cal Performances, Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley, now through Dec. 20. Tickets $36 and up, but children’s tickets are half off Dec. 17 and 18.

A cookie-loving mouse: You know what happens if you give a mouse a cookie, right? He’s going to want a glass of milk to go with it. And if you give audiences at Active Arts Theatre’s popular stage productions a play called “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” they’re going to want an extended stage run to go with it. So the show is running Dec. 19-23 at San Ramon’s Front Row Theater. Tickets $15-$19.

Oompa Loompas: Catch Charlie, Violet Beauregarde and those famous Oompa Loompas on Dec. 18 when the Paramount Theatre screens “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” — the classic 1971 one with Gene Wilder, not the Johnny Depp version. The box office opens at 6 p.m., doors open at 7 p.m. and the curtain rises at 8 p.m. Tickets $5.

More popcorn pleasure: The Elmwood Rialto’s holiday family matinees continue Dec. 19 and 20 at noon with “A Christmas Story.” Freebie tickets available from local boutiques, or you can pay $4 — a benefit for Berkeley PTA groups — at the box office.

Historic Dunsuir Fete: Celebrate Christmas old-school style now through Dec. 20 at the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate’s annual holiday faire, which includes tea parties, puppet shows, trolley rides and live music. Tickets are $7-$12, the Dec. 19 children’s tea is $17-$25; 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland.

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