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Grand Strand holiday shows

For most of the year, live theater revues are second-tier attractions on the Grand Strand. For the run-up to the holidays, however, the shows are what pull visitors to the Myrtle Beach area.

The granddaddy of them all – now in its 28th year – is Carolina Opry's “Christmas Special,” featuring a wide array of holiday tunes. For the show, the theater often spotlights performers who've proven popular over the seasons, and back again is pianist Rocky Fretz.

New to the cast is La Toya London, who was featured on this season’s “American Idol” as one of the “Three Divas.” Returning to the holiday cast is long-time cast member Tangena Church. The venue (www.thecarolinaopry.com) is at the northern junction of U.S. 17 Bypass and U.S. 17 Bypass.

At Barefoot Landing, Alabama Theatre's “The South's Grandest Christmas Show” (www.alabama-theatre.com) mixes Vegas-style production numbers with holiday classics and comedy routines. Comedian Rocky Mokel returns as a featured entertainer.

The Palace Theatre, at Broadway at the Beach (www.palacemb.com) continues its multi-month run of “Hot Jersey Nights,” but the tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons will be mixed with holiday tunes starting in November.

Tightly focused shows more aimed at grownups will be mounted by Legends in Concert (at Broadway at the Beach; www.legendsinconcert.com), where amazing alike/sound-alike tribute artists channel holiday tunes by entertainers done up like Elvis or Dolly Parton.

All three productions are prime for all-age audiences.Tickets for most holiday shows start around $38 apiece. Reservations strongly suggested.

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