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If you don't know what next Tuesday is, you're looking at a calendar from 2004. Christmas is indeed nigh, and for theatergoers, it marks the start of the annual respite from an incessant parade of A Christmas Carols and The Nutcrackers. The following day, Broadway/San Diego jumps on top of the trend and opens its High School Musical, the stage version of the 2006 Disney Channel movie that spawned a huge cult following. It's marketed as a tongue-in-cheek retelling of Romeo and Juliet, only this time the kids live to tell their tale—they belong to rival cliques and refuse to let the school or their friends come between them and their dreams. The TV flick was so successful that Disney produced a sequel this year—let's see if the idea works onstage. High School Musical runs Dec. 26 to Dec. 30 at the Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., Downtown. 619-570-1100 or www.broadwaysd.com. $17-$100.
—Martin Jones Westlin
A CHRISTMAS CAROL: NOT-SO-TINY TIM'S GREAT BIG MUSICAL presented by Vox Nova at 6th@Penn Theatre, 3704 Sixth Ave., Hillcrest, 858-539-6251, through Dec. 23, story of Christmas as seen through the eyes of Tiny Tim. $18-$24.
FESTIVAL OF CHRISTMAS at Lamb's Players Theatre, 1142 Orange Ave., Coronado, 619-437-6050, story of a group of travelers who find themselves stranded amid a snowstorm and discover ways to celebrate the holiday by sharing music and stories. $33-$49.
* HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS at The Old Globe Theatre mainstage, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, 619-23-GLOBE, through Dec. 30, annual story of the Grinch, the residents of Whoville and the peace they make. $19-$39. See our review on this page.
* OFF THE GROUND at New Village Arts, 2787-B State St., Carlsbad, 760-433-3245, through Dec. 23, story about two Christmas trees, the meaning of family and loss and the ability to glue yourself back together. $15-$26.
CHALK IT UP TO MURDER presented by HIT Productions, Fireside Steakhouse, 439 W. Washington Blvd., Escondido, 619-561-8673, featuring a cavalcade of new clues for a terrible crime. $16-$29.50.
JOEY & MARIA'S COMEDY ITALIAN WEDDING at Holiday Inn on the Bay, 1355 N. Harbor Drive, 800-944-5639, the fortunes and foibles at the heart of an Italian wedding. $49.50.
WHERE THERE'S A WILL… THERE'S A WAKE presented by Mystery Café Dinner Theater at Imperial House Restaurant, 505 Kalmia St., Downtown, 619-544-1600, story of gangland figure Sonny Shoeleone, heir to the family fortune unless his siblings have their way. $56.50, $59.50.
WHITE CHRISTMAS at Welk Resorts Theatre, 8860 Lawrence Welk Drive, Escondido, 888-802-7469, through Dec. 30, musical adaptation of a story about a Christmas show at a Vermont lodge. $52-$81.
TRIPLE ESPRESSO at the Horton Grand Theatre, 444 Fourth Ave., Downtown, 619-234-9583, through Feb. 17, 2008, story of three dorks and their bid at fame on national TV. $10-$37.50.