No acting experience necessary; great diversity sought; ages 17-71+; expect activism work. Sat., Jan. 5, 11am-2pm. Goodwill Community Center, 1015 Norwood Park.
The Vortex and Circus Chickendog team up to present this trained-animal homage to Tchaikovsky's classic for the holidays. It's family-friendly, all right, but it's not just for the kiddies: These are antics that even grown-ups will be delighted by, as the talented Darren Peterson goes all out with juggling, unicycling, giant bubbles, rope tricks, and puppets – as abetted by his circus dogs and a performing macaw. Thu.-Sun., Dec. 27-30, 5:30 & 7pm; Thu.-Fri., Jan. 3-4, 7pm; Sat., Jan. 5, 5:30 & 7pm. $10-30 ($5-15, kids).
The Vortex, 2307 Manor Rd., 512/478-5282
Ken Ludwig's comical murder-mystery is subtitled Holmes for the Holidays
, and of course you're familiar with that
consulting detective. Here's an actor (Jason Newman) playing an actor (William Gillette) who's playing Holmes and who's shot onstage in mid-role. Things get even more complicated (and dangerous) at a weekend revel after the attempted murder, and – well, thereby hangs a tale
. A fine cast is directed by Don Toner for Austin Playhouse (now in their temporary digs at the Highland Mall). Dec. 13-Jan. 13. Thu.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 5pm. Highland Mall, 6001 Airport
. $15-37 (student discounts available).