Nebraska Theatre Caravan, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Arnold Hall, Air Force Academy, 2302 Cadet Drive, $35.25-$51; 333-4497,

"A Christmas Carol" is a seasonal staple.

One of this year's offerings is a touring production by the Nebraska Theatre Caravan.

"It's a wonderful Christmas story," says Carl Beck, artistic director. "This is Christmas the way we wish it would be."

In the much-loved show, the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve, who set out to change his grouchy tune.

"Scrooge is probably my favorite role to play anywhere," says actor Brent Alan Burington from Omaha, where the company is headquartered. "You get to hit it all. He starts as a wretched excuse for a human being - nasty, cruel, mean. Then you get to watch him slowly wake up to himself, and remember what it is to be a human being and that you can't buy happiness, you have to make your own happiness. The journey is so much fun to play."

Beck calls this version of the show, which features a five-member orchestra, especially family-friendly.

"It's considered a play with music, rather than a musical," he says. "We incorporate period Christmas carols. ... Scrooge never bursts out into song, but there's a lot of music."

Jennifer Mulson,, 636-0270.



Audubon Christmas Bird Count - 8:30 a.m.-noon Saturday, participants can stay until 3:30 p.m., Bear Creek Nature Center, 245 Bear Creek Road, $5 for birdseed, reservations required; 520-6387.

Flying W Wrangler Holiday Show - 5:30-8:30 p.m. Sunday, Stargazers Theatre and Event Center, 10 S. Parkside Drive, $15 without dinner, $25 with dinner; 476-2200, stargazers