Christmas, of course looms large on the stage this month with the annual "Radio City Christmas Spectacular" at the Fox Theatre (through Dec. 28) and Meadow Brook Theatre's yearly staging of "A Christmas Carol" (through Dec. 22) but there are plenty of other reasons to take in a show this month.

Those who like their comedy broad and their broads comical will enjoy the Fisher Theatre's musical recreation of the Tony Curtis/Jack Lemmon/Marilyn Monroe classic "Some Like It Hot" - with Curtis himself in a supporting role - through Dec. 22. And the comedy "What Next?" featuring Council Cargle and Barbara Busby is up and running all month at the Detroit Repertory Theatre.

The Hilberry is also offering up a play more famous as a film - the urbane "Philadelphia Story" (through Feb. 1).
Rick Seeber's musical revue/70s nostalgia trip "8-Track" will end its Century Theatre run (which began in September) at the end of the month, while downstairs the Gem's wildly successful comedy "Sheer Madness" has been extended until February 2003.

The Hastings Street Ballroom - (313) 870-9002 - presents an encore production of the sketch comedy show "Zabaugh's Follies" while Second City continues its run of "Less Talk Motown."
And Arthur Beer stars as a feisty old man, who learns from a young visitor in the JET's comic melodrama "Visiting Mr. Green," (through Jan. 5), while Robert Grossman plays a very different sort of senior citizen in Performance Network's unique production of "Man of La Mancha," (through Dec. 22).

Another don't miss show is Planet Ant's searing production of "Master Harold and the Boys," starring Eli Magid, James Bowen and Douglas K. McCray (through Dec. 22).
And the Purple Rose in Chelsea follows the closing of Jeff Daniels' successful drama "Across the Way," (through Dec. 22) with the playwright/film star/Rose-founder's own one-man show "Jeff Daniels Onstage & Unplugged" and Dec. 27 - January 4.

Of course, in the theater world, the end of the year doesn't come till May or June - but for those who want to celebrate the changing of the calendar year, area playhouses will offer a number of shows to go with those champagne toasts and "Auld Lang Synes" on the last day of the month. 

The Gem and Century Theatres are open New Year's Eve - with two ways to celebrate the night with a show at "Sheer Madness" or "8-Track." For those with late-night plans, or who just want to start 2003 with a good night's rest, there's G&C's late-afternoon packages, while those who want to ring in the New Year with other theatergoers can opt for a late show and dinner, followed by dancing and the Ed Wells Band, party favors, and a midnight toast.
Packages for "Shear Madness" and the New Year's dinner are $39.50 - $80.00 at 6 p.m. and $59.50 - $100.00 at 9:00 p.m. "8-Track" packages are $39.50 - $80.00 per person at 5:30 p.m., and $59.50 - $100.00 for the 8:30 p.m. show - (313) 963-9800.

You can catch "What Next?" at Detroit Rep's annual New Year's Eve party - which offers a buffet dinner, unlimited champagne and hors d'oeuvres, and the show for $65.00 per. The evening begins at 8 p.m. with Rep community outreach director (and noted cookie baker) Dee Andrus preparing dinner. Call (313) 868-1347.
Or Visit "Mr. Green" for an early New Year's celebration at the JET. The West Bloomfield theater's party starts at 7:30, for those who want to catch a second party before midnight, and includes a show, champagne toast and an hors d'oeuvre buffet from Matt Prentis' "Milk and Honey" restaurant. $50 - (248) 788-2900.

Hastings Street offers one last performance of "Zabaugh's Follies" on New Year's Eve at 8 p.m. Tix are $15 (313) 870-9002. And Second City will offer two shows New Year's Eve. The first package includes a 5:30 p.m. dinner, a 7:30 show and access to the 9 p.m. after party - for $85. The late package features the after party, an 8 p.m. dinner and a 10 p.m. show - for  $99. Late package and after party are only open to those 21 and older. Or you can also just catch a show and party - sans dinner - for $25 - $39. Call (313) 965-2222.

And finally a New Year's Toast to local actor Tobin Hissong and Purple Rose company manager Christine Puchis, who will tie the knot December 31st. Here's to a blissful and happy 2003!
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