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Canteen pours out holiday cheer at Aurora Theatre
The cast performs during ‘Christmas Canteen 2011.’ This year’s ensemble features three veteran cast members and a trio of newcomers. The show opens with a preview performance Nov. 21. - photo by CHRIS BARTELSKI

Christmas Canteen 2012

When: Nov. 23–Dec. 23, 8 p.m. Wednesdays (except Nov. 28)-Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; 10 a.m. matinees Dec. 12 and 19 ($20), preview performance 8 p.m. Nov. 21 ($10 with library card)

Where: Aurora Theatre, 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville

How much: $30-$40

More info: 678-226-6222, 

Christmas Canteen 2012, Aurora Theatre’s original annual holiday musical, opens with a special preview performance Nov. 21 and runs through Dec. 23.

Gwinnett County’s longest running theatrical holiday tradition combines the sentimentality of a television variety special with the high energy of a USO show packed with holiday tunes.

Christmas Canteen 2012 pays tribute to the men and women of the U.S. armed services, past and present.

Meanwhile, Aurora’s Festival of Trees supports both the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots drive and local food banks. More than 30 trees decorated by local businesses deck the halls of the theater, with visitors encouraged to cast a vote for their favorite tree with a new unwrapped toy or a nonperishable food item.

The musical is led by performer and head writer Brandon O’Dell, now in his ninth year. It includes returning veterans Jevares Myrick and Eric Moore, along with three newcomers making their Canteen debut: Courtney Godwin, Kathryn Berrong and Taryn Bryant.

Anthony Rodriguez directs and associate producer Ann-Carol Pence handles musical direction.

“In a year when our community has helped us with an enormous fundraising campaign, ‘Canteen’ is the sincerest way Anthony and I can show our deepest appreciation,” Pence said. “By supporting us, you have already made our dreams come true.”

Tickets are $30-$40. The preview is set for 8 p.m. Nov. 21 and is $10 with a library card.

Showtimes are 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, with 2:30 matinees Saturdays and Sundays and special 10 a.m. matinees Dec. 12 and 19 for $10.

Regional events