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On Stage This Week 

Theater offerings with lots of Christmas cheer

Black Nativity

A soulful retelling of the Gospel of St. Luke from an African-American perspective. Through December 30 at Karamu House, 2355 East 89th St., Cleveland. Tickets are $25 to $30; call 216-795-7077 or go to karamuhouse.org.

A Christmas Carol

Great Lakes Theater Festival's 22nd annual production of this Dickens-based classic is presented as a story within a story. Through December 23 at Playhouse Square's Ohio Theatre. Tickets are $28 to $60; to order call 216-241-6000 or order online at greatlakestheater.org.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

This crowd-pleasing musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber is a humorous retelling of the biblical story of Joseph of Canaan. Through January 2 at Beck Center's Main Stage, 17801 Detroit Ave., Lakewood. Tickets are $10 to $28 at 216-521-2540 or beckcenter.org.

The New Century

There are few funnier people alive than playwright Paul Rudnick (author of the plays I Hate Hamlet and Jeffrey), but this work feels carelessly stitched together. And the second act is simply bewildering, but not in an amusing way. As the title suggests, the three virtual monologues that make up the first act are putatively arranged around the turn of Y2K, showing how different people are adjusting to a new era with some of the same old problems. Of course, Rudnick has a particular interest in issues surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity, and those topics are explored in fearless and often hilarious detail. It's impossible to describe how fast and furious the jokes come at you in the first and third vignettes. But director Scott Plate and all the actors are put adrift by the weirdness of Act 2. (Howey) Through January 9 at Dobama Theatre, 2340 Lee Rd., Cleveland Hts. Tickets are $5-$25; call 216-932-6838 or visit dobama.org.

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