do your homework, make good choices, take some chances, and keep at it even after the occasional disappointment, there have been a high number of truly exceptional shows playing on local stages over the last 12 months.

So what better way to end the old year and start the new one than by attending a party at one of our fine local theaters. It’s become a tradition, for some companies, to kick off their new year with a performance of the first show of that new year. Cinnabar Theater, in Petaluma, has turned the tradition into one of its best-attended fund-raisers of the year.

This time, on Saturday night, December 31st, they’ll be launching another year-end gala with the first performance of the new one-woman musical “Sophie Tucker: Red Hot Mama.”

Written and performed by acclaimed Tony-nominated actress Sharon McKnight, ‘Red Hot Mama’ tells the story of Sophie Tucker, the renowned burlesque, vaudeville and Broadway performer who made a name for herself with her tough-as-nails, bawdy and boozy songs and banter.

The show features several of Tucker’s most famous songs, including ‘Red Hot Mama,’ “My Yiddishe Mama,” and “I Don’t Want to Be Thin.’ McKnight was nominated for a Grammy award for best supporting actress for the 1989 sci-fi musical ‘Starmites.’ Now a resident of Hollywood, she’s performed ‘Red Hot Mama’ all over the world. The show will have a full run at Cinnabar from January 6 – 22, but for those looking for a sexy and salacious way to sashay into the new Year, Cinnabar’s New Year’s Eve party will give a chance to see the show first, along with special musical entertainment, food and drinks, champagne and Auld Lang Syne.

There’s just something about New Years and naughtiness.

The other hot ticket for the New Years – so hot it had to be spread over two nights and three shows – is 6th Street Playhouse’s New Year’s Cabaret featuring Sandy and Richard Riccardi, performing their YouTube sensational songs about the weird side of life, love, politics and making it in a crazy world.

The show runs once on December 30, at 8 p.m., and twice on New Year’s Eve, at 7 p.m. and again at 10, for those who want to be laughing at midnight when the calendar finally turns the page.

To learn more and buy tickets, visit 6thsttreetplayhouse.com and/or cinnabartheater.org.

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