Today’s entertainment picks:

Today’s entertainment picks:

v “A Christmas Carol,” 7 p.m.: Ebenezer Scrooge again learns his lesson at Kent-Trumbull Theater, 4314 Mahoning Ave. NW, Champion; 330-675-8887.

v “Honky Tonk Angels Holiday Spectacular,” 8 p.m.: Last season’s hit gets a Christmas update. Salem Community Theater, 490 E. State St., Salem; 330-332-9688.

v “Not on this Night,” 7:30 p.m.: This one-act play will be followed by songs from vocalist Carla Gipson. Youngstown Playhouse, Glenwood Avenue; 330-788-8739.

v Big Band Jingle Bell Swing, 7:30 p.m.: The Big Band Sound of Packard, with vocalist Helen Welch, are featured in this free concert at Packard Music Hall, 1703 Mahoning Ave. NW, Warren; 330-399-4885.

v “A Seussified Christmas Carol,” 7:30 p.m.: The classic tale gets a Dr. Seuss twist. Penn State Shenango Theater, 146 Shenango Ave., Sharon, Pa.; 724-983-2836.

‘The Bodyguard’ stage musical opens


Does “The Bodyguard” have the muscle to be a hit?

A stage musical based on the 1992 movie starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner has opened at London’s Adelphi Theatre to a mixed critical reception — but universal praise for its big-voiced star.

Reviewers raved Thursday about Heather Headley’s performance as Rachel Marron, a superstar singer who falls for the former secret service agent (Lloyd Owen) assigned to protect her from a stalker.

Critic Mark Shenton in The Stage newspaper found Headley — an American actor and singer who has won both a Tony and a Grammy Award — “an utterly compelling star” who combines “an authentic glamour and blazingly soulful vocals.”

As for the rest of the show, some critics found campy fun where others saw just another uninspired jukebox musical.

Nobel winner defends censorship


This year’s Nobel literature winner Mo Yan, who has been criticized for his cozy relationship with China’s Communist Party, defended censorship Thursday as something as necessary as airport security checks.

He also suggested he has no plans to join an appeal calling for the release of the jailed 2010 Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo.

Mo has been criticized by human rights activists for not being a more outspoken defendant of freedom of speech and for being a member of the Communist Party-backed writers’ association.

His comments Thursday, made in Stockholm, appear unlikely to soften his critics’ views toward him.

Awarding him the prize has also brought criticism from previous Nobel winners.

Herta Mueller, the 2009 literature laureate, has called the jury’s choice of Mo a “catastrophe.”

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