FRIDAY: ReACT Theatre's How the Grinch Stole Christmas

TheaterSgt. Rigsby & His Amazing Silhouettes With fast-paced lunacy harking back to the Golden Age of radio theater, Scot Augustson's shadow puppets tell a tequila-soaked tale of mystery, history, and bawdy times. It is the story of young Roscoe, boy inventor, warned that his new Time-Cycle might actually destroy Christmas (something to do with a zebra, you see). After eating a few adulterated desserts, he throws caution to the wind; naturally, chaos ensues, history is irrevocably distorted, the Time-Cycle is stolen midrift, and Roscoe is left on the Boardwalk of Eternal Despair to ponder his fate with his multiple future selves. In the style of a 1940s radio play, complete with spoof ads and hilarious and naughty asides throughout, the good Sgt. Rigsby and his puppeteer spin the story line across three backlit screens, set into a trompe l'oeil vaudeville stage. The personalities are expertly voiced by four dapperly attired actors equipped with classic Unidyne microphones at stage left. Roscoe finally discovers the truth, trusty sidekick Penny strikes out on her own, pal Spex reveals his true intentions, and faithful pooch Scampers develops a curious interest in that zebra. Christmas 1957 may not be everything it seems, after all. Theatre Off Jackson, 409 Seventh Ave. S., 800-838-3006, $14 (pay what you can each Thurs.) 8 p.m. Thurs.–Sat. Ends Dec. 23. NEIL CORCORANHoliday Story ReadingsHow the Grinch Stole Christmas"The Grinch hated Christmas!The whole Christmas season!" (How could anyone else hate Christmas when it marks the annual appearance of Dr. Seuss' classic?)"Why, for fifty-three years I've put up with it now!I MUST stop Christmas from coming!… But HOW?" So is set a most diabolical plan.Yes, you've read the book, seen the animated version on TV, and even had the, um, good taste to shell out for the big-screen version. Why bother? Because this time the readers are the actors of ReAct Theatre. Of course, you know how the Grinch ends up. Have some fun once again hearing how he gets there. Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 624-6600,, Free. 6:30 p.m. (Also 2 p.m. Sun., Dec. 17). JOANNE GARRETT DanceLove Lessons If you're a fan of "the nightclub scene" in all those old movies, the one where couples in elegant evening clothes sit at little round tables next to the dance floor watching the show before they get up to rhumba, you can indulge your fantasy at the Century Ballroom—they provide dinner and dancing, with the show in between. Love Lessons, the part in the middle, "explores the journey of a love relationship" with plenty of salsa, tango, and swing involved. Come early for a three-course dinner, stay later for a mini-lesson and open dancing, and be sure to wear something that looks good in glorious black and white. Century Ballroom, 915 E. Pine St., 324-7263, $25 without dinner, $60 with. Under 21: $20 cabaret, $55 with dinner (no lessons). Dinner 6 p.m., cabaret 7:30 p.m., lessons 9:15 p.m., free dance 9:45 p.m. Fridays through Dec. 15, Saturdays through Jan. 27. SANDRA KURTZ Film It's a Wonderful Life Welcome to Pottersville. Young George Bailey is beaten until he's bleeding from the ear. Later, played by Jimmy Stewart, he shakes his uncle by the lapels, berating the "stupid old fool" like a scene from a film noir. He despairs, "I'm at the end of my rope! I wish I'd never been born!" Long before American Beauty, Frank Capra gave us the original midlife crisis movie, with Stewart in the Kevin Spacey role. Life has passed George by, and he's trapped by career, mortgage, and marriage. Despite Capra's 1946 postwar optimism about family, community, and the bountiful promise of the suburbs, you still can't shake off George's dark vision of reality. For the 36th year in a row, this event is a holiday tradition of the University District–area cinema. (NR) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935. $5–$7.50. 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. daily; 1 p.m. on Sat., Dec. 23–Sun., Dec. 24. Ends Dec. 28. BRIAN MILLER

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