The artistic director of the state's largest nonprofit musical-theater group resigned his post Nov. 12 after a group of gay and lesbian artists threatened to boycott the company over his support of a ban on same-sex marriage. Scott Eckern, former artistic director of Sacramento's California Musical Theatre, reportedly donated $1,000 in support of Prop. 8, which writes the ban into California's constitution—and as misguided as I think that move may have been, Eckern is certainly within his rights, just as the artists are perfectly free to boycott. But Eckern's resignation, which came abruptly on the heels of his quarter-century with the company, seems like a radical act to ensure a certain constituency's appeasement. Theaters are supposed to give life to plays, not star in them.
A Christmas Carol: Ebenezer Scrooge cops a clue as a trio of ghosts shows him what an asshole he's been. In previews now, it opens Dec. 5 at North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987-B Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach. $30. 858-481-1055, www.northcoastrep.org. In previews now, it opens Dec. 6 at Cygnet Theatre's Old Town venue, 4040 Twiggs St. in Old Town. $17-$46. 619-337-1525, www.cygnettheatre.com.
* Helen: The most beautiful woman in the world outwits her captors and is reunited with her husband after the Trojan War. Sundays through Dec. 14 at The Theatre, Inc., 899 C St., Downtown. $22-$25. 619-216-3016, www.thetheatreinc.com.
* Oprah Winfrey Presents the Color Purple: Celie defies the odds and makes a life for herself in the Georgia of the 1930s. Produced by Broadway/San Diego, the show runs through Dec. 7 at the civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., Downtown. $17.50-$122.50. 619-570-1100, www.broadwaysd.com.
* Prometheus and Cyclops: A renegade god and a big fat guy with one eye weigh in on lotsa stuff. Through Dec. 14 at The Theatre, Inc., 899 C St., Downtown. $22-$25. 619-216-3016, www.thetheatreinc.com.
* The Grinch Who Stole Christmas!: The Grinch acts like a big poopface to everyone in Whoville until a little girl sets him straight. Through Dec. 28 at The Old Globe Theatre mainstage, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. $21-$52. 619-23-GLOBE, www.oldglobe.org.
The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea: When the most feared warrior in the land vows he will force a princess to be his queen, she defiantly climbs the kingdom walls, braves a wild storm and heads into the dangerous forest to seek her freedom. Produced by The San Diego Repertory Theatre, the show runs through Dec. 21 at The Lyceum, 79 Horton Plaza, Downtown. $39-$44. 619-544-1000, www.sdrep.com.
* Xanadu: Clio descends from the heavens to help Sonny spearhead the greatest invention of all time: the roller disco. Through Dec. 31 at La Jolla Playhouse's Mandell Weiss Theatre, 2910 La Jolla Village Blvd. in La Jolla. $42-$75. 619-550-1010, www.lajollaplayhouse.org.
* Scrooge in Rouge: Dickens' A Christmas Carol is set in a Victorian music hall, complete with an array of quick-change artists and cross-dressers. Through Dec. 21 at Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd. in University Heights. $31-$35. 619-220-0097, www.diversionary.org. See our review on this page.