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CLOSING

And Then There Were None

A classic Agatha Christie murder mystery takes the stage to the heights of sleuthing and terror. See: Ten strangers, each with a dark secret, are summoned to the island mansion of an eccentric millionaire, but when the guests arrive their host is nowhere to be found … and the guests are being killed one by one. A terrific cast is directed by Lara Toner for Austin Playhouse, and you know somebody is gonna get out alive … right? Through Dec. 22. Thu.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 5pm. Austin Playhouse at Highland Mall, 6001 Airport, 512/476-0084. $28-35 (half price, students).

It's a Wonderful Life

Watch as five radio-play actors from Penfold Theatre bring Joe Landry's classic story to life, playing dozens of characters and performing live sound effects in the style of "A Prairie Home Companion" out there in Round Rock. Through Dec. 22. Thu.-Fri., 7pm; Sat.-Sun., 3 & 7pm. Rice's Crossing Store, 3300 East Palm Valley Blvd, Round Rock.

Steel Magnolias

Robert Harling’s Southern-fried hit comedy is directed by Andy Berkovsky for City Theatre. Through Dec. 22. Thu.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 5:30pm. $15-25 ($10, Thursdays).

City Theatre, 3823-D Airport, 512/524-2870

www.citytheatreaustin.org, info@citytheatreaustin.org

Elf Employment

Puppets? Yes, but not the darkling denizens of Trouble Puppet. This is the family-friendly Puppet Improv Project, presenting "a colorful cast of mischievous imps and woodland creatures who brighten the stage with a musical and interactive situation comedy – based on suggestions from the audience about the life of elves in Santa’s Workshop." Bring the kids! Fri., Dec. 6; Sat., Dec. 7, 14, 21; Sun., Dec. 15, 22. All shows at 6pm. $7.

Institution Theater, 3708 Woodbury, 512/895-9580

www.theinstitutiontheater.com, sarahmarie@theinstitutiontheater.com

The Wonder Bread Years

Pat Hazell returns with his popular comedy: a nostalgic look at childhood for the entertainment of all – especially for those who were kids way before Hong Kong Phooey chop-sockied his way into Saturday morning cartoon-time. Remember when? Dec. 19-22. Thu.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 3pm. $39 and up.

Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside, 512/457-5100

www.thelongcenter.org

La Pastorela: A Sheperdela's Storia

The Austin Latino Theater Alliance presents this traditional Christmas tale, bringing contemporary Austin characters to life in a show directed by Patricio Villarreal Avila. Dec. 19-22. Thu.-Fri., 8pm; Sat.-Sun., 7pm. $15 ($10, children).

Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River, 512/537-2582

www.maccaustin.org

ONGOING

A Christmas Story

Philip Grecian's version of Jean Shepherd's holiday classic gets the full Zach treatment, as reviewed here. Nov. 27-Dec. 29. Tue.-Sat., 7:30pm; Sun., 2:30pm. (Note: no show on Dec. 24; see website for more information). $18-65.

Zach Theatre, 1510 Toomey, 512/476-0541

www.zachtheatre.org

This Wonderful Life

Richard Robichaux directs this Steve Murray one-man adaptation of the beloved Capra film It's a Wonderful Life, which sounds like a pretty decent holiday treat, y'know? Like, why the hell not? But then you learn that Martin Burke will be playing all 37 characters from the movie himself – and you realize it's more like an OMG-don't-miss-this-show situation at Zach Scott this holiday season. Through Dec. 29. Wed.-Sat., 7:30pm; Sun., 2:30pm. See website for more information.) $18-65.

Zach Theatre, 1510 Toomey, 512/476-0541

www.zachtheatre.org