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Skip the long lines at your local movie theater and catch one of these live shows instead.  

The holidays mean family. And family, for better or worse, often means lots of togetherness in a childhood home that inevitably starts to feel too small, regardless of its square footage. Stave off a case of cabin fever by checking out one of these lighthearted shows.

Then send the kids to play outside while you pour yourself a large glass of mulled wine or Christmas ale. 

Murder for Two

Nov. 10-Jan. 14
Stackner Cabaret
Murder for Two

The Rep’s “Murder for Two,” starring Matt Edmonds and Joe Kinosian; photo by Michael Brosilow

Two-man shows are hard to pull off, and two-man musicals harder still. But the Rep’s Murder for Two hits all the right notes, thanks in large part to the comedic chops of its two leads, Matt Edmonds and Joe Kinosian. Kinosian, a graduate of the Milwaukee High School for the Performing Arts, also co-wrote the script, proving that he’s more than a triple threat – he’s a bona fide Renaissance man. Tickets are selling quickly, so buy them soon if you want to see the show. 

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Nov. 24-Dec. 31
First Stage Theater
A Charlie Brown Christmas

Ivy Broder and Zach Church in First Stage’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas”; Photo by Paul Ruffolo

This play, based on the 1965 television special of the same name, centers on everyone’s favorite cartoon blockhead. To get into the holiday spirit, Charlie Brown decides to direct his town’s Christmas play. Hilarity, and catchy song-and-dance numbers, ensue. The show, which features a nearly all-kid cast (Matt Daniels plays Snoopy and Jack Forbes Wilson tickles the ivories onstage), appeals to adults and children alike – First Stage recommends it for those 4 and up.

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Annie

Skylight Music Theatre
Nov. 17-Dec. 27
Annie

A scene from Skylight’s “Annie”; photo by Mark Frohna

Don’t wait until “tomorrow” to see one of the most beloved musicals of all time. Skylight’s version of the classic musical features two Annies (KyLee Hennes and Eloise Field alternate performance nights), a live orchestra and another star turn from Andrew Varela, who played the titular demon barber in the theater’s recent staging of Sweeney Todd, to much critical acclaim. The show’s toe-tapping songs delight, and so does its message of perseverance in the face of adversity.

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