Every year, a few theater companies around town claim they're doing something "Different!" on stage for the holidays. Others, not even caring to try, just go dark. The truth is, the yuletide is the season for same old same old. But wait! The community-theater group Circle Circle dot dot really is doing something different. Its holiday-show characters include a high-heeled dominatrix in leather, a drugged-out rock star in rehab and a spirit speaking from the Great Beyond via pay phone. They're all part of "Naughty," a collection of five mini-plays that comprise one half of Circle Circle dot dot's Naughty or Nice, on stage through Dec. 20 at the 10th Avenue Arts Center, Downtown.
Here's how it works: The evening begins with "Nice," a (relatively speaking) family-friendly trio of short plays directed by Patrick Kelly, each with a holiday theme. After a 90-minute (too long?) intermission, the same seven troupe members return for the "Naughty" portion of the night, directed by Soroya Rowley. You can catch just one of the two, or come for both. At least on opening night, the audience for the "late-night" "Naughty" was nearly double that of the earlier "Nice." With good reason. "Naughty" is a lot more fun, and it's, well, naughty.
Of the five "Naughty" offerings, the two most entertaining are Rowley's The Naughty Farce, which includes the aforementioned dominatrix and takes the concept of wild party to another level, and Neil McDevitt's Re-Gifting Mother, a more conventional but equally hilarious take on family dysfunction. Amid the five pieces is a choreographed performance of a musical number written by Tony Houck (a standout in both "Nice" and "Naughty") sung to the tune of "Silver Bells." It's called "Silver Balls." You can take it from there.
The rest of the hard-working cast merits mention: Beth Gallagher, Kristin McReddie, Alexandra Slade, Kevane La'Marr Coleman, Rhys Green and Taylor M. Wycoff.
Most of the mini-plays feel like still-in-progress workshop pieces in search of endings, and some drag on a bit, but Naughty or Nice is designed mostly to be outlandish. Mission accomplished.
6: Written and directed by Ion Theatre's Claudio Raygoza, this play focuses on a documentary filmmaker who searches for her son, a climatologist, as a huge hurricane charges toward the Texas coast. Opens Dec. 11 at BLKBOX Theatre in Hillcrest. iontheatre.com
Mistletoe, Music & Mayhem: A musical sketch-comedy show that has some fun with the holiday season. Opens Dec. 11 at Coronado Playhouse. coronadoplayhouse.com
The MOMologues: Four women talk about the overwhelming, exhausting and often hilarious trials and tribulations of early motherhood. Presented by Different Stages, it runs Dec. 12 through 20 at Swedenborg Hall in University Heights. differentstages.biz
Orpheus & Eurydice: The Trip, an experimental theater group, is telling the Greek myth of the musician and poet Orpheus and his wife Eurydice through a mix of online content (happening already at thetriptheater.net) and live performance, which runs Dec. 17 through 21 in Arthur Wagner Dance Studio 3 at UCSD. thetriptheater.net
Peace Pilgrim: Another performance of this play about the real-life Mildred Norman, who walked across the country numerous times to deliver a message of world peace. Presented by Plan the Plan Productions, it happens on Dec. 11 at Twiggs Coffee House in University Heights. Search for "Plan the Plan Productions" on Facebook.
This Wonderful Life: James Leaming plays nearly three-dozen characters from Bedford Falls in this one-man show based on It's a Wonderful Life. Opens Dec. 10 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org
White Christmas: San Diego Musical Theatre presents its annual stage adaptation of the classic 1954 film about a couple of Army buddies who become a music duo and fall for a pair of sisters. Opens Dec. 11 at the North Park Theatre. sdmt.org
Golden Boy: A boxer and aspiring violinist must decide whether to risk injuring his hands by competing in a prizefight. Presented by the UCSD Department of Theatre & Dance, it runs through Dec. 13 in the Sheila & Hughes Potiker Theatre on campus. theatre.ucsd.edu
Gypsy: The story of stage mother Rose and her two Vaudeville-performing daughters, set to music. Presented by Visionary Musical Theatre, it runs through Dec. 13 at the Visionary Performance Space in Rolando. visionarydancetheatre.org
A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Peanuts gang discovers the true meaning of Christmas. Presented by Pickwick Players, it runs through Dec. 14 at Off Broadway Live in Santee. pickwickplayers.net
I Do, I Do, I Do: A woman is in a heap o' trouble after promising to marry three different dudes. Through Dec. 14 at PowPAC in Poway. powpac.org
Bell, Book & Candle: A witch living in 1950s Greenwich Village casts a spell on her neighbor and, in the process, risks losing her magical powers. Through Dec. 20 at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista. onstageplayhouse.org
Naughty or Nice: Circle Circle dot dot presents two collections of holiday-themed plays by local playwrights. One is for folks of all ages; one is for the adults. They run through Dec. 20 at the 10th Avenue Arts Center in East Village. circle2dot2.com
The 1940s Radio Hour: A little New York radio station produces a lively musical broadcast for the troops during World War II. Through Dec. 21 at Patio Playhouse in Escondido. patioplayhouse.com
A Tuna Christmas: Intrigue is afoot amid the annual Christmas Yard Display Contest in Tuna, Texas. Presented by Point Loma Actors Theatre, it runs through Dec. 21 at Point Loma Playhouse. pointlomaactors.com
The Second City's Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue: The Second City sketch-comedy troupe returns to San Diego with a holiday-focused show. Through Dec. 21 at La Jolla Playhouse. lajollaplayhouse.org
Tru: This one-man play finds Truman Capote alone in his apartment with pills, booze and desserts. Through Dec. 21 at Diversionary Theatre in University Heights. diversionary.org
Woman in the Mirror, A Dancer's Journey: A one-woman, autobiographical show starring Michael Jackson impersonator Devra Gregory. Through Dec. 21 at the Horton Grand Theatre, Downtown. devasmj.com
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas: A total jerk is surprised when his tiny, wretched heart grows by a factor of three. Through Dec. 27 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. theoldglobe.org
A Christmas Carol: This is Cygnet Theatre's own unique, family-friendly, musical adaptation of the holiday classic about the transformation of one Ebenezer Scrooge. Through Dec. 28 at the Old Town Theatre. cygnettheatre.com
The Nutcracker: This is not the ballet! This is an updated musical-theater adaptation of the holiday classic, about a little girl who goes on a fantastical adventure as she grieves for her deceased brother. Through Dec. 31 at New Village Arts in Solana Beach. newvillagearts.org
Win Place or Die My Jockeys are Killing Me: Mystery Café's latest comic-caper dinner-theater production is set at the Thoroughbred Club at Upson Down Race Track. It's ongoing at Imperial House restaurant in Bankers Hill. mysterycafe.net