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Beyond "The Nutcracker"

Though there's nothing wrong, nothing at all, with the ubiquitous holiday ballet The Nutcracker (particularly Miami City Ballet's beautiful production), South Florida theater fans young and old have several non-dance options for their post-Thanksgiving entertainment.

Another Night Before Xmas The most intriguing looks to be the two-character musical Another Night Before Christmasat Actors' Playhouse in Coral Gables.  Written by Sean Grennan and Leah Okimoto, whose Married Alive!was a summer hit at Actors', the show stars Carbonell Award winners Irene Adjan and Ken Clement -- she plays a lonely social worker, he's a homeless guy who may or not be Santa Claus.

Another Night Before Christmas plays in the upstairs Balcony Theatre at Actors', 280 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, from Dec. 2-27. Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday (extra matinee on Dec. 9, no show on Christmas Eve.  Tickets are $48 Friday-Saturday, $40 other shows (10 percent senior discount, $15 student rush tickets Wednesday-Friday).  Call 305-444-9293 or visit the theater's web site for more info.

* Also at Actors', the musical Madeline's Christmas is running in the large downstairs theater on Saturdays through Dec. 26.  The family show has performances at 2 p.m. each Saturday, with extra public performances at 5 p.m. Dec. 20 and Dec. 24.  Tickets are $15.

ChristmasCarol *  Another family-friendly show, a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, plays the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, Dec. 1-6.  The classic tale about a miser changed by visions of Christmases past, present and future has performances at 10 and 11:30 a.m. Tuesday-Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (with an extra show at 11 a.m. Saturday).  Tickets are $17.50 (but on Dec. 1-2, they're just $7).  Call 954-462-0222 or visit the Broward Center web site for info.

*  If you can't wait to kick off Christmas and have a slightly more adult/askew sensibility, remember that Scrooge in Rouge starring Ricky Graham, Varla Jean Merman and Yvette Hargis will be performed live at Cinema Paradiso, 503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale, Friday-Sunday at 8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday at 2 p.m.  Tickets are $40 ($30 for members of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. Call 954-525-3456 or visit the film fest site.

*  If you're a procrastinator, here's the show for you. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is coming to the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise -- afterChristmas.  The spectacle-filled holiday extravaganza runs Dec. 29-30 at the center, 2555 NW 136th Ave. (Panther Parkway), Sunrise.  The Rockettes will get their kicks in at 7 p.m. Dec. 29-30, with additional shows at 1 and 4 p.m. Dec. 30. Tickets are $45.25-$99 for adults, $39.25-$49.25 for kids.  Visit the BankAtlantic web site for more info.