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A trio of new-to-Baltimore stage shows take the spotlight this holiday season

The performing arts scene is revved up for another holiday season.

In addition to the usual flurry of such perennial favorites as Handel's "Messiah" and Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker," this year's lineup gains fresh spice from several new-to-Baltimore productions, including a play about the last Christmas of the Civil War and stage adaptations of popular holiday movies.

Here's a look at some of these novel attractions.

'A Civil War Christmas'

In 1997, just before the premiere of "How I Learned to Drive," the powerful play about child abuse that would earn her a Pulitzer Prize, Paula Vogel got the inspiration for a very different...