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December 02, 1987|NANCY CHURNIN

- The first theatrical production of the holiday season opened Tuesday with the Lamb's Players Theatre's 10th annual "A Festival of Christmas." It is the second production this year of the play, one of five in a cycle penned by the group's resident playwright, Kerry Cederberg. Subtitled "The Angel's Arms," the play is directed by Cederberg, who also appears in the production. The play is about a writer, looking for inspiration, who encounters a mysterious woman who helps him bring his characters to life--literally.

The ghosts join the angels just a few days later, as the San Diego Repertory Theatre readies Douglas Jacobs' 12th annual adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" for a Saturday opening at the Lyceum Stage. (Expect the same well-received production as last year, down to Tavis Ross as the irascible Ebenezer Scrooge.)

On Dec. 11, the California Performing Arts Centre will open "Bah! Humbug," its 8th annual musical production adapted from Dickens' classic at the Palisade Theater in North Park (until recently known as the Palisade Roller Rink).

Part of the "Bah! Humbug" tradition involves finding national and citywide celebrities to be the guest narrators. This year's production opens with Cesar Romero and Anne Jeffreys ("General Hospital"), and will feature Denise Yamada, the new anchor for Channel 39, on Dec. 19; Thom Bierdz and Jeanne Cooper (both from "The Young and the Restless") at the Dec. 20 matinee, and Bill and Lois Kolender at the Dec. 22 matinee.

Feeling right at home with the other celebrities, Jim Henson's Muppet Babies--including baby versions of Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and Gonzo--will be visiting the San Diego Sports Arena on Thursday through Sunday in a 90-minute stage production of "The Muppet Babies' Magic Box."

Also in the Christmas crush of family shows is Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater's Merry Christmas show, featuring dancing marionettes on December weekends in Balboa Park, culminating in "The Gingerbread Man" at the puppet theater Dec. 26-30.

And don't forget "Silent Edward," an original hourlong musical about young adults trying to save a historic ferryboat. Written and directed by Des McAnuff, artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse, "Silent Edward," which has been touring elementary schools since October, will be presented at UC San Diego's Warren Theater Dec. 27-31.

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