On Stage

Making Holiday Traditions at the Theater: San Diego’s Theatrical offerings

By Berto Fernández

The traditional image of the Holidays includes snowy pine trees, a cozy fire, and a hot beverage. Our Holidays here in San Diego look and feel very different, which is exactly what makes them so special. Sunny and crisp Winter days turn our city into a must-visit destination for this time of year. One of the aspects of San Diego that is very appealing to both visitors and locals is the theatrical offerings available. This feature will highlight some of the productions that bring joy and hope to all families. 

San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus Jingle!

December 9 & 10

The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus is celebrating it’s 39th season with one of the community’s favorite traditions, Jingle! This family friendly choral production has become a staple to start the Holiday Season in San Diego. The show features fabulous Holiday music by artists like RuPaul, Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey, Michael Buble, Darren Criss, Tim Minchin, Celia Cruz, Sara Barellies and Sia. This year the theme of the concert is sing-along which will surely be a jolly good time. This crucial San Diego institution brings joy and cheer through stunning choral arrangements, colorful costumes and choreography. This event is not to be missed, so get your tickets! 

How The Grinch Stole Christmas!

November 08 – December 31

Back to The Old Globe Theatre for its incredible 26th year, Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a magical musical spectacle based on the classic Dr. Seuss book. The show features some of San Diego’s most successful Musical Theatre talent, as well as two casts of up and coming young talent that will absolutely blow you away. This classic show features songs like “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”, “Santa for a Day”, and “Welcome, Christmas (Fah Who Doraze)”. The Grinch shows the tall and the small, that even the meanest heart can be charmed by the whimsical magic of Christmas. The Globe offers a sensory friendly performance of the show on December 9th at 10am.

A Christmas Carol

Dec 1 – Dec 30, 2023

Cygnet Theatre is known for producing groundbreaking Theatre, and their production of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol is no exception. This adaptation by Cygnet’s artistic director Sean Murray (who also stars as Scrooge this year) returns for its 9th year. The unique Victorian style production features original music, puppets, and a multi-talented cast of San Diego’s best actors. This version is darker than traditional productions, which makes it my favorite in town. 

Elf: The Musical

November 18 through December 24, 2023

Elf: The Musical, based on the motion picture by the same name starring comedian Will Ferrell is running through Christmas Eve at the Welk Resort Theater in Escondido. The hilarious show features a score by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, and book adaptation by Bob Martin and Thomas Meehan from the 2003 film. The festive costumes, catchy songs, and quirky shenanigans of Buddy The Elf are the perfect way to celebrate your Holidays.


November 25 – December 24, 2023

After highly successful runs of both R-E-S-P-E-C-T & Million Dollar Quartet, Coronado’s Lamb’s Players Theatre has decided to have artists from both casts join forces as they present R•E•S•P•E•C•T•F•U•L•L•Y Christmas, a joyous revue show full of beloved holiday songs and carols through the decades. The company offers a lot of discounted ticket options, so make sure to check their website or call the box office for more details.

Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show

November 17 – December 24

Part of creating memories through traditions is finding new ones for our friends and family to share together. There’s no doubt that the world loves Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol, but this re-imagined version is very specific to San Diego as a city, making it a fantastic option for the local community to experience the magic of Theatre while still celebrating our sunny and not so wintery home. Just the way we like it. This year, Tony nominee Christopher Sieber leads the cast, in what promises to be a fast paced musical farce to get us in the spirit.

For members of the LGBTQ+ community, the Holidays can be a difficult and emotionally charged time. Be it blood family, chosen family, we all have our own unique definition of what family actually is. Theatre is a fantastic way for all families to share holiday time together. A lot of these plays bring up themes and values that may spark healthy conversations to bring our families and the community together. We are so lucky that San Diego has a beautifully diverse and welcoming LGBTQ+ community, which is the perfect scenario to build new traditions full of Arts, Music, and Theatre. Go see a Theatre production this Holiday season, there’s truly nothing like it.