XM Satellite Radio - December 2, 2004

XM 28 "On Broadway"

Broadway and Beyond: Three Shows to Look For This Holiday Season XM Satellite Radio 12/2/2004

XM 28 On Broadway
"Broadway and Beyond" for December 2, 2004

With the holidays approaching, theaters around the country are turning their stages over to shows like "A Christmas Carol". In recent years, a handful of other titles are finding their ways to stages throughout the country. These shows do not necessarily have the "name brand" recognition of Dickens, so here’s a primer for three alternative holiday shows that I am pretty certain will be playing on a stage near you.

The first is Daniel Sullivan’s "Inspecting Carol." Sullivan wrote this show with members of the Seattle Rep when he was artistic director of that institution, trying to come up with an alternative to a staged version of Dickens. The result is a backstage farce about a community theater that is mounting a production of Scrooge’s story, but like that other backstage farce, "Noises Off" egos get in the way and things go horribly wrong in the funniest ways possible.

Another piece that has gained popularity in recent years is David Sedaris’ "Santaland Diaries". "Diaries" is a one-man show in which an aspiring New York actor recounts his experiences as an elf in Santa’s Village at Macy’s. Told with mordant humor that (I think) can’t fail to amuse, the play walks the audience through the application process which includes the question "Why do you want to be an elf?" to the daily grind of dealing with the parents, children and weirdos that come to tell their Christmas wishes to Santa and have their picture taken.

The third piece that one increasingly finds onstage this time of year is Jeff Goode’s "The Eight: Reindeer Monologues." This is a play that’s told in the confessional-slash-documentary style of plays like "The Laramie Project" and "The Vagina Monologues." In "Eight," Santa’s workshop has been hit by a rather adult scandal and Goode’s highly amusing play allows each of the reindeer to give their impression of what happened. Goode’s characterizations of the animals that we all think we know so well include a Comet who used to rob liquor stores and a Prancer who has changed his name to Hollywood. This one is definitely not for the kiddies, but it’s a rollicking good show for the adults.

This has been Andy Propst of AmericanTheaterWeb.com

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