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New Dawn will present one of holiday's best-known tales

It's not Christmas unless you've had your seasonal dose of George Bailey, Zuzu's petals and a second-class angel.

Ever since the story was immortalized on film in 1946, "It's a Wonderful Life" has become the epitome of Christmas spirit. This season, the New Dawn Theater Company is taking the story of ol' George from the screen to the stage with its holiday production of "It's a Wonderful Life."

A story about appreciating life, family and friends, "It's a Wonderful Life" is a taste of "A Christmas Carol," but with a flavor all its own. See, George Bailey is at his wit's end, fed up with the constant stress of life. He thinks his existence is meaningful to no one, and he's ready to throw it all away. In steps his less-than-stellar angel, Clarence, who must convince George that his life is wonderful and his presence is present enough.

But then, everyone and their brother already knew all that, as "It's a Wonderful Life" is one of the best-known Christmas tales, just below the kid in the manger story. Yet, after more than 60 years, fans never tire of it.

"It's a Wonderful Life" will be performed by New Dawn Theater Company Thursday through Dec. 23 at Duluth's Second Stage Theater, 3087 Main St., Duluth. Shows will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call 678-938-3615 or visit www.newdawntheatercompany.com.

Bah, humbug, indeed

Before a rousing round with George Bailey, take a trip further down Holiday Lane with the time-honored "A Christmas Carol." The Alliance Theatre's production of the story of Tiny Tim and old man Scrooge is truly an Atlanta area holiday tradition.

In its 18th year (with actor Chris Kayser in his 15th year as the miser Ebenezer Scrooge), the Alliance's "Carol" is everything audiences could hope for: plenty of good cheer, lavish costumes and superb performances. Not to mention flying ghosts and heartwarming musical numbers.

"A Christmas Carol" will be performed today through Dec. 24 at the Alliance Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. Tickets range in price from $20 to $50. Call 404-733-5000 or visit www.alliancetheatre.org.

Animal kingdom coming to town

"Nants ingonyama bagithi baba." No, that's not gibberish - it's the call of the wild. Well, the call of "Lion King," to be exact.

Disney's beloved animated romp through the wilds of Africa will again be taking to the Atlanta Civic Center stage. But not until February. Tickets, however, will be on sale starting Saturday. Officially, tickets will be available at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster outlets, but the Civic Center will hold a pre-sale from 8 to 10 a.m.

Broadway Across America-Atlanta will host a pre-sale spectacular during the early morning two-hour window. The first 200 people in line for tickets will be rewarded with a "Lion King" holiday ornament and performances by a dance group from Ghana. Toys for Tots will also be on site, and those donating a new, unwrapped toy will receive a "Lion King" CD sampler.

The pre-sale event will be held at the Atlanta Civic Center box office, 395 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta. Call 404-523-6275 or visit www.broadwayacrossamerica.com/atlanta or www.atlantaciviccenter.com.