This week, WGBH Arts Editor Jared Bowen reviews three new theatre productions in the Greater Boston area.

“Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol,” plays at the Emerson Colonial Theatre through Dec. 29

Dolly Parton's Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol
The Company of "Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol"
Jesse Faatz, courtesy of Emerson Colonial Theatre

Dolly Parton is bringing holiday cheer from Tennessee to the Emerson Colonial Theatre with "Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol." Based on the classic Charles Dickens tale, this “Christmas Carol” is set in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee during the 1930s. Ebenezer Scrooge (Pete Colburn) is the miserly owner of a small-town coal mining company.

"I thought, ‘Well, I've got to write really bad stuff. I've got to really write from a mean old place,'" Parton said of writing for Scrooge. "I just kind of take it on, and just kind of put myself in that character, and that's fun for me!"

This musical production is directed by Curt Wollan, with an original story by David H. Bell. While Parton doesn’t appear in the show, she did write the music and lyrics.

"The work needs further shaping," Jared says, "but that’s secondary to Parton’s music, which transcends the material. Here, the songwriting and storytelling is the fortune."

“Moby-Dick,” presented by the American Repertory Theater through Jan. 12

Manik Choksi and the company of "Moby-Dick"
Evgenia Eliseeva, courtesy of the American Repertory Theater

Across the Charles River, Herman Melville is also getting the musical treatment at the American Repertory Theater. Directed by Tony winner Rachel Chavkin ("Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812"), this "Moby-Dick" eyes the 19th-century source material with 21st-century urgency as Captain Ahab pushes his crew to their limit in a maniacal hunt for the great white whale. Dave Malloy provides the music, lyrics, book, and orchestration for this sprawling, spirited and often haunting production.

"Moby-Dick has moments of greatness and extraordinary vision," says Jared. “Right now though, it’s a musical valiantly finding its way through Melville’s vast ocean.”

“Christmas on Uranus,” presented by Gold Dust Orphans at the Lithuanian Club in South Boston through Dec. 22

Christmas on Uranus
The cast of "Christmas on Uranus"
Michael von Redlich, courtesy of the Gold Dust Orphans

Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans open their new home in South Boston with a raucous holiday mashup that’s out of this world. In “Christmas on Uranus,” Santa Claus is kidnapped by aliens, and it’s up to the Robinson family to bring him home. It’s “A Christmas Story” meets “Lost in Space” — with just a dash of “The Golden Girls” that makes up the DNA of this humorous and heartfelt production.

"'Christmas on Uranus' is sharply funny, clever, and delivers a societal sting," says Jared. "But Ryan Landry is softening on us. The show is naughty and many parts nice. There is a much welcome abundance of heart."

Jared’s favorite production of “A Christmas Carol” is the 1938 version starring Reginald Owen. What’s your favorite “Christmas Carol?” Tell Jared about it on Facebook or Twitter!