The annual “Fireside at the Miles” series, featuring an eclectic line-up of contemporary music, opera, jazz, blue grass, storytelling, dance, poetry, beat boxing and a capella singing, is returning to Santa Monica’s historic Miles Memorial Playhouse.

For five weeks beginning Friday, Jan. 7 through Saturday, Feb. 5, the Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica, will be presenting 14 separate events of music storytelling, dance and drama.

All of the performances will take place beside the period fireplace inside the historic playhouse. The seating risers will be replaced with a more intimate set-up of couches, coffee tables, candles and an organic coffee, tea and pastry bar all inside the open hall.

Among the scheduled performances are rising roots musicians Frank Fairfield and Sunny War, premier Shakespearean actor Lisa Wolpe, singer/songwriters David Poe, Amy Raasch and others, the Ruskin Group Theatre’s Best of the Café Plays, and two “Inside Hip Hop” nights featuring HBO and Comedy Central MCs IN-Q and MC Mr. Napkins.

Most performances are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. and end at 10 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. All events are suitable for adults and mature teens, and most are also appropriate for children, a playhouse spokesperson said.

The series will open at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 7 with Acoustic Fire, a performance by singer/songwriter Poe, along with local musicians Raasch and Dudley Saunders, as well as newcomer Madeline Mondrala.

The next event, Wild and Woolly Tales from My Wild and Woolly Life by storyteller Michael D. McCarty, is scheduled at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 8.

In Wild and Woolly Life McCarty will aim to inspire and amuse the audience with stories from his checkered career as a wannabe physicist, revolutionary, acupuncturist, drug dealer, guru seeker, and world traveler, the playhouse spokesperson explains.

McCarty is a storyteller of African, African American and international folk tales, historical tales, stories of science and spiritual stories. He says he tells stories to inform, educate, inspire and amuse, with a style both sympathetic and enthusiastic.

For a complete line-up of performers and to make reservations,

Admission to all shows is $10 for adults, and $5 for seniors (55 and over), students and youths (17 and under). Group rates are available for 10 or more. All coffee, tea, beverages and food are available by suggested donation.

Fireside at the Miles is sponsored by the city of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division and supported with donations by Groundwork Coffee, Panera Bread, Whole Foods and Vons.

For reservations, (310) 458-8634, or Information,