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Theater capsule reviews, by The News critics, are based on a four-star rating system, and are as follows:
excellent good
fair poor

Main Stages

THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER. Regular performances through next Sunday, with additional shows at 7 p.m. Dec. 23 and 2 p.m. Dec. 27. Holiday production based on the book by Barbara Robinson. Show times: 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Theatre of Youth, Allendale Theatre, 203 Allen St. 884-4400. www.theatreofyouth.org. $14-$16 (group rates available). *** 1/2 (Kathleen Rizzo Young)

A BROADWAY CHRISTMAS CAROL. Through Saturday. Seasonal production. Show times: 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday. O'Connell & Company, Cabaret in the Square Theatre, 4476 Main St., Amherst. 839-3949. www.cabaretinthesquare.com. $20 adults, $15 students and seniors, $10 children. Dinner packages and group rates available. *** 1/2 (Kathleen Rizzo Young)

A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Opens Thursday and runs through next Sunday. Classic Charles Dickens tale adapted by Neal Radice. Show times: 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. Forbes Theatre, 500 Pearl St. 852-2600. www.alleyway.com. $24 general, $10 students and children.

CHRISTMAS IS COMIN' UPTOWN. Ends today. Musical loosely based on "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. Show time: 4 p.m. today. Paul Robeson Theatre Company, African-American Cultural Center, 350 Masten Ave. 884-2013. www.paulrobesontheatre.com. $20 adults, $16 seniors/students, $10 children ages 5 to 12. Group rates available. ***(Ted Hadley)

THE CHOSEN. Through Dec. 28. Drama presented by the Jewish Repertory Theatre. Show times: 8 p.m. Thursday and Saturday; 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday. Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St. 853-4282. ***(Jeff Simon)

DIVA BY DIVA. 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Musical celebration of women. O'Connell & Company, Cabaret in the Square Theatre, 4476 Main St., Amherst. 839-3949. www.cabaretinthesquare.com. $20 adults, $15 students and seniors. Dinner packages and group rates available.

EBENEZER S.: A NONTRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS CAROL. Through Dec. 23. Comedy/drama by Matthew and Thomas LaChiusa. Show times: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 6 p.m. Sunday. Buffalo Ensemble Theatre Company, New Phoenix Theatre, 95 N. Johnson Park. 853-1334. www.buffalotheatre.com. $15 general, $10 seniors and students, $7 children under 12. ** 1/2 (Jim Santella)

THE EIGHT: THE REINDEER MONOLOGUES. Through next Sunday. Holiday production for adult audiences only. Show times: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday. Buffalo United Artists, Main Street Cabaret, 672 Main St. 886-9239. www.buffalobua.org. $20 general, $16 BUA members, $10 students.

THE FANTASTICKS. Through next Sunday. Musical presented by Playhouse Theatricals. Show times: 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Alleyway Theatre, 1 Curtain Up Alley. 852-2600. www.playhousetheatricals.com. $20. ***(Ted Hadley)

INTERROGATION ROOM. Through next Sunday. Mystery by Jon Elston presented by Road Less Traveled Productions. Show times: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Ujima Theatre Company, TheaterLoft, 545 Elmwood Ave. 883-0380. www.ujimatheatre.org. $16-$22. *** 1/2 (Jim Santella)

THE LION IN WINTER. Ends today. Comedy. Show time: 2 p.m. today. Kavinoky Theatre, 320 Porter Ave. 881-7668. www.kavinokytheatre.com. $10-$28. ** 1/2 (Richard Huntington)

LITERARY LADIES AND HIGH TEA: JANE EYRE. 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday. One-woman show by Lisa Hayes. O'Connell & Company, Cafe in the Square Restaurant, 4476 Main St., Amherst. 839-3949. www.cabaretinthesquare.com. $25.

MESHUGGAH-NUNS! 7 p.m. today, next Sunday and Dec. 28. Musical comedy. O'Connell & Company, Cabaret in the Square Theatre, 4476 Main St., Amherst. 839-3949. www.cabaretinthesquare.com. $20 adults, $15 students and seniors, $10 ages 10 and under. Dinner with theater packages also available for $34.95. *** 1/2 (Jim Santella)

MIRACLE ON 34th STREET. Ends today. Holiday classic produced by TNT Productions. Show time: 2:30 p.m. today. Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Ave., Lancaster. 683-1776. www.lancopera.org. $14 adults, $12 students and seniors.

OUT TO LUNCH. Through Dec. 31. Comedy starring Josephine Hogan. Show times: 12:10 p.m. Wednesday; 7 p.m. Friday and Dec. 26. Irish Classical Theatre Company, Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St. 853-4282. www.irishclassicaltheatre.com. $10 (show), $15 (show and box lunch).

PLAID TIDINGS. Through Dec. 28. Holiday version of the musical "Forever Plaid." Show times: 7 p.m. Tuesday; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday. Studio Arena Theatre, 710 Main St. 856-5650 or (800) 77-STAGE. www.studioarena.org. $29-$50. ***(Ron Ehmke)

Canadian stages

THE LION KING. Through Jan. 4. Musical based on the Disney movie. Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King St. West, Toronto. (800) 461-3333. www.ticketking.com or www.onstagenow.com. ****(Mary Kunz)

MAMMA MIA! Through Feb. 29. Musical by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus. Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King St. West, Toronto. (800) 461-3333. www.ticketking.com or www.onstagenow.com. *** 1/2 (Mary Kunz)

A MIDSUMMER'S DREAM. Through Dec. 27. Original Canadian adaptation based on play by Shakespeare. Show times: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Gypsy Theatre, 465 Central Ave., Fort Erie, Ont. (905) 871-4407 or (877) 990-7529. www.gypsytheatre.com.

THE PRODUCERS. Through April 25. Mel Brooks musical. Canon Theatre, 244 Victoria St., Toronto. (800) 461-3333. www.ticketking.com or www.onstagenow.com.

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