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A Christmas Carol / SF Ballet’s Nutcracker / Holigays Are Here… Again! / The Magic Lamp panto

This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area performing arts, guest host Angie Coiro talks with Francois Battiste and Amber Iman, who respectively star as Ebenezer Scrooge and The Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol at the Golden Gate Theatre (through Dec 26). Also, San Francisco Ballet music director Martin West, about the Ballet’s Nutcracker (Dec 10-30); Mitch Galli, the associate artistic director for the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, about their Holiday concerts (Dec 10-24), titled Holigays Are Here… Again; plus, producer Peggy Haas, about the Bay Area’s newest holiday show: The Magic Lamp panto at the Presidio Theatre in San Francisco (through Dec 31).

This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area performing arts, guest host Angie Coiro talks with Francois Battiste and Amber Iman, who respectively star as Ebenezer Scrooge and The Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol at the Golden Gate Theatre (through Dec 26). Also, San Francisco Ballet music director Martin West, about the Ballet’s Nutcracker (Dec 10-30); Mitch Galli, the associate artistic director for the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, about their Holiday concerts (Dec 10-24), titled Holigays Are Here… Again; plus, producer Peggy Haas, about the Bay Area’s newest holiday show: The Magic Lamp panto at the Presidio Theatre in San Francisco (through Dec 31).

Running through December 26 at the Golden Gate Theatre (1 Taylor St) in San Francisco, is the Tony Award winning production of A Christmas Carol, in a magical new interpretation by playwright Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and director Matthew Warchus (Matilda). Actors Francois Battiste (Ebenezer Scrooge) and Amber Iman (Ghost of Christmas Present/Mrs. Fezziwig) are part of a cast that includes seven actors who call the Bay Area home.

With artistic director Helgi Tomasson’s beloved Nutcracker, the San Francisco Ballet returns to performing for in-person audiences at the War Memorial Opera House (Dec 10-30). Tomasson, who is celebrating the final season of his 37-year tenure, set his Nutcracker in San Francisco as a tribute to the Company’s hometown. Martin West, music director and principal conductor, conducts the SF Ballet Orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s beloved score.

These performances mark SF Ballet’s return to the newly restored War Memorial Opera House since the company became the first U.S. cultural organization to cancel performances due to the pandemic.

From the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, we talk with associate artistic director Mitch Galli, about the Chorus’ annual holiday extravaganza, Holigays Are Here... Again. With performances around the Bay Area, the SFGMC returns to the stage for the first time since the 2019 holiday season.

Concerts are at San Francisco’s Sydney Goldstein Theater on December 10 & 11; Rohnert Park’s Green Music Center on December 18; Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage on December 19; and San Francisco’s historic Castro Theatre on December 24. SFGMC offers something for everyone, from Little Drummer Boy, Go Tell It On The Mountain, and Los Peces en el Rio, to Over the River, and Chanukah in Santa Monica. 

Plus, we talk with producer Peggy Haas about the world premiere of the Bay Area’s newest holiday show: The Magic Lamp panto at the Presidio Theatre in San Francisco (through Dec 31).

The production features an original script and music, which tells the story of Aladdin, set in contemporary San Francisco. The Magic Lamp turns the classic children’s tale on its head with magnificent costumes, musical parodies, dance, magic, and over-the-top silliness. Panto is a traditional British holiday entertainment that combines slapstick humor, one-line zingers, outrageous characters and send-ups of current events.

Open Air with guest host Angie Coiro, heard live on Thursday, December 2 at 1pm, to be archived thereafter at this very location until the Internet dies. Listen now or anytime… 

Niels Swinkels is a freelance journalist, musicologist, sound engineer, and radio producer. Born and raised in the Netherlands, he studied English and Musicology at the University of Nijmegen. Before moving to San Francisco, he was the Arts Editor, and Senior Classical Music & Opera critic for Brabants Dagblad, a Dutch daily newspaper. In addition to producing KALW’s Open Air, a weekly radio magazine for the Bay Area Performing Arts, he is also a wine guy at Trader Joe’s Nob Hill in San Francisco...