By Jackie Burrell
Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 at 5:45 am in Family Entertainment.
Frothy snowflakes, hard nuts: The classic moves of the â€śNutcrackerâ€ť ballet are all well and good, but once youâ€™ve seen â€śThe Hard Nut,â€ť the Mark Morris Dance Groupâ€™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 Beyonceâ€™s â€śSingle Ladiesâ€ť moves in the opening party scene. The production features the Berkeley Symphony in the pit, and the angelic voices of the Piedmont Childrenâ€™s Choirs too. Cal Performances, Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley, now through Dec. 20. Tickets $36 and up, but childrenâ€™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? Heâ€™s going to want a glass of milk to go with it. And if you give audiences at Active Arts Theatreâ€™s popular stage productions a play called â€śIf You Give a Mouse a Cookie,â€ť theyâ€™re going to want an extended stage run to go with it. So the show is running Dec. 19-23 at San Ramonâ€™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 â€śWilly Wonka and the Chocolate Factoryâ€ť â€” 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 Rialtoâ€™s holiday family matinees continue Dec. 19 and 20 at noon with â€śA Christmas Story.â€ť Freebie tickets available from local boutiques, or you can pay $4 â€” a benefit for Berkeley PTA groups â€” at the box office.
Historic Dunsuir Fete: Celebrate Christmas old-school style now through Dec. 20 at the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estateâ€™s annual holiday faire, which includes tea parties, puppet shows, trolley rides and live music. Tickets are $7-$12, the Dec. 19 childrenâ€™s tea is $17-$25; 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland.