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Memorial Auditorium ho-ho-hosting fun for December

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"SimpleGifts: Music for the Holidays" (from top), "ComedySportz Improv" and "Thunderstruck 18" are three special events being featured at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center in December. (Special to The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Why focus on “Home Alone” or a steady diet of Hallmark Christmas movies throughout December when so many opportunities for live entertainment exist locally?

“There are several excellent holiday entertainment options on tap at Memorial Auditorium,” asserted Tammy Makram, the facility’s managing director.

With an array of events scheduled ranging from a high school theater production to a popular professional music group to an improvisational comedy troupe, and a list of classic seasonal movies thrown in for merry measure, Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center will stay on its mistletoes all month.

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‘Thunderstruck 18’ film premiere, Friday, Dec. 6 (doors open at 6 p.m.; prizes at 7 p.m.; film at 7:30 p.m.)

Although it’s not exactly a live event, the premier of C & B Operations’ most recent “Thunderstruck” film is something snowmobiling — and thrill-seeking action — fans won’t want to miss. According to its promotional materials, “’Thunderstruck 18’ is packed full with some of the deepest powder days, super technical lines, big air, stunts and craziest chute climbs ever captured on film.”

Team Thunderstruck riders will attend, and C & B Operations will announce prizewinners at 7 p.m. prior to the film’s 7:30 p.m. show time.

‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, ’ Thursday and Friday, Dec. 12 and 13, 7:30 p.m.

Plan to bring the whole family to this 65-minute production, which showcases a 37-member Worthington High School cast. Directed by Jon Loy, Makram says the entire Memorial Auditorium stage will “come to life as a chocolate factory.”

“You might even have a chance to win chocolate with a golden ticket,” hinted Makram.

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“And it’s always a delight to have the high schoolers in the house. They do such amazing shows that they prepare so quickly,” she added.

‘SimpleGifts: Music for the Holidays, ’ Saturday, Dec. 14, 7 p.m.

SimpleGifts is musician Billy McLaughlin’s ensemble, featuring a talented number of multi-faceted artists. Prepare to enjoy “traditional [holiday] music interpreted in modern arrangements,” per SimpleGifts’ tagline, presented with three-part vocals, violin, Celtic flutes and bagpipes, piano, acoustic guitar and percussion.

“SimpleGifts performs all the music of the holidays, and they travel with a fabulous set for visual as well as listening enjoyment,” said Makram.

SimpleGifts performed in Worthington nearly a decade ago, and Makram said fans have continually asked for them to come back.

“This could be one of the most requested shows I’ve ever programmed for a return trip to MAPAC,” Makram professed.

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Makram mentioned that other managing directors of state and regional performing arts facilities unanimously praise and recommend SimpleGifts.

“This show has sold out everywhere it’s been,” said Makram, adding that the group has 17 appearances on its calendar during the month of December.

Fortunately, Worthington has secured one of those dates, and Makram assures SimpleGifts is a not-to-be-missed performance.

‘ComedySportz Improv,’ Tuesday, Dec. 31, 7 p.m.

Get ready to laugh your way out of 2019 and all the way into 2020 with ComedySportz Improv. This troupe of professional improvisational comedians promises to tax attendees’ funny bones to the limit as they “compete” to see who can prompt the most laughs. Some audience participation will be encouraged during this fast-paced, G-rated comedy presentation.

“You can expect non-stop humor that is said to be appropriate for all ages,” said Makram.

Makram said offering New Year’s Eve shows at MAPAC has proven to be a successful venture, as people can attend earlier in the evening and then either retire for a New Year’s toast at home or live it up till midnight (and beyond) at a party, bar or other social gathering.

“And we’ll have a New Year’s Eve reception following the show, with Fishin’ for Olives providing music in the lobby,” said Makram.

“Come spend New Year’s Eve with us; this has been a very popular night here over the past five years.”

Free Christmas movies (see dates and times below)

Winding up MAPAC’s 2019 calendar is a series of free Christmas movies, all of which are provided to the public at no cost and are open to all comers.

“This is our way of giving a gift from the city of Worthington to the community for the holidays,” said Makram.

“We offer some classic and fun movies that families or kids can attend together during the Christmas break.”

Scheduled movies are as follows:

  • “It’s a Wonderful Life,” 7 p.m. Dec. 20 and 21, 2 p.m. Dec. 22

  • “The Polar Express,” 2 p.m. Dec. 26

  • “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” 2 p.m. Dec. 27

  • “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” 7 p.m. Dec. 27 and 28

  • “A Christmas Story,” 2 p.m. Dec. 28

  • “Elf,” 2 p.m. Dec. 29

Tickets for “SimpleGifts: Music for the Holidays,” scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 14, may be purchased at the Memorial Auditorium box office, 714 13th St., Worthington, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays, by calling 376-9101 or by visiting friendsoftheauditorium.com. For more information about any of the holiday offerings mentioned above, call 376-9101 or visit friendsoftheauditorium.com.

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