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Lancaster County’s vacation entertainment offering is just one of many reasons to plan a multi-day seasonal visit.
Lancaster County’s December entertainment scene features sights, sounds and stories that can provide a welcome respite before Santa’s big day. It’s an opportunity to put aside the chores and chores of the season, nestle into a comfortable seat and indulge in the laughter, joy and wonder of the season.
The list of entertainment also represents a potentially unusual and appreciated gift: tickets to a night out for a family member or friend on the list.
Rather than an impersonal gift card or an obligatory set of earrings or another sweater (ugly or not), the gift of a Lancaster County theatrical experience (perhaps complemented by an overnight stay?) is something that the recipient will fondly remember into the New Year.
On the entertainment scene, these recommended shows are either about to open or already running; but their cast, sets, orchestras and theater staff will retain their luster until closing time, usually December 31st.
Eleven the musical at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theater, Lancaster, PA
At the holiday film Eleven Opened in 2003, it became an instant classic.
The script for the on-stage musical version, adapted from the original screenplay, was written by Robert Martin, who began his career with Toronto comedy troupe Second City.
He was admitted to the Eleven Screen-to-stage translation by Thomas Meehan, who has written screenplays for Broadway hits annie to The young Frankenstein.
The stage version follows its cinematic model: a New York baby is accidentally transported to the North Pole. Nicknamed Buddy, he grew up as an elf, a job he spectacularly fails at. Buddy then returns to the Big Apple to reunite with his father.
Oh, and – spoiler alert… or not; The film runs non-stop in December – except for Christmas.
The original Broadway production grossed over $1 million in one week.
Apple’s Dutch edition runs until January 8, and audiences can choose between the dinner and show combo or a show-only option.
Maps are online.
The Christmas Tree Ship at the Bird-in-Hand Stage, Bird-in-Hand, PA
The Christmas Tree Ship may be a lesser-known musical, but it shouldn’t be.
Its screenplay is based on a true story of the three-masted schooner Awaken Simmons. Every December, the captain and crew transported Christmas trees across Lake Michigan to buyers in Chicago.
However, during a crossing in November 1912, she collapsed and took the life of her leader, Captain Herman Schuenemann.
He was so connected to bringing joy with his load of trees that he was nicknamed “Captain Santa”. The label was only reinforced by Schuenemann’s tradition of decorating his ship while he was selling trees: customers commonly nicknamed the ship “The Christmas Tree Ship”.
A benevolent soul, Captain Santa was also known for giving away trees to needy Chicago residents who could not afford them.
This musical version of the story is told from the perspective of his surviving wife. The plot details her responsibility to raise her daughters while continuing the family business.
It is an epic, heartwarming, inspirational tale inspired by a true story that will remind audiences of the importance of tradition, kindness and the joy of Christmas.
The Christmas Tree Ship occupies the Bird-in-Hand stage through December 31st. As in Elevenhis seats are also sold online.
Believe at the Magic & Wonder Theater, Paradise, PA
Believe is a pastiche of sorts that brings together holiday-themed segments, including songs, magic, comedy, costumes, dance, acrobatics, and lots of holiday cheer.
If Santa Claus himself produced NBCs America’s Got TalentIt could look like that.
Scenes of this magical hilarity include the North Pole and Santa’s Magic Workshop, which comes alive during the performance.
At the core of Believe is entertainer/magician Brett A. Myers, winner of the 2021 Merlin Award. It’s an industry acknowledgment of finesse, paralleled by an Oscar in the film industry and an Emmy for television shows.
Penn and Teller have one; so does AGT’s Shin Lim, which puts Myers in good company.
This is a dinner theater presentation where the waiters bring the dishes to the table even during the performance (however, they work to keep a low profile). The fare is kid-friendly (like the show), with burgers, fries, and chicken fingers.
Believe Also, tickets can magically appear in the hands of attendees by going online first.