Stray Dog Theatre goes old school -- think old elementary school -- this year for its traditional Christmas season: The company will stage an actual holiday pageant that recounts the story of the Nativity. The title is dense -- The Butterfingers Angel, Mary & Joseph, Herod the Nut and the Slaughter of 12 Hit Carols in a Pear Tree -- but the feeling is daft. Mary here is a feminist who wants to make something of herself in Jerusalem, and not settle down with an old man like Joseph. The angel who announces God's plan for her is not the best administrator, and Joseph is plagued by jealousy and resentment of his impending family condition. But playwright William Gibson weaves these unusual elements together in such a way that they shine a new light on an old story, even if most of that light comes from a talking and very willful pear tree. Stray Dog Theatre presents The Butterfingers Angel at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (December 5 through 21) at the Tower Grove Abbey (2348 Tennessee Avenue; 314-865-1995 or There is one 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, December 21. Tickets are $18 to $20.
Thursdays-Saturdays. Starts: Dec. 5. Continues through Dec. 21, 2013

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