We just got back from our last show of 2006: Santaland Diaries and Seasons Greetings at the Rep East Playhouse in Newhall. This is actually three shows:
- Front Row, performed by the Artistic Director, Ovington Michael Owston. This is a monologue that is purportedly a theatre review column on a local radio station. In this monologue, the announcer provides a number of reviews of elementary Christmas show. As one would expect from versions of A Christmas Carol and other such shows, they are not up to professional snuff, and he rips them quite to shreds. As one who has had to suffer through such shows, I knew what he was thinking.
- Seasons Greetings, performed by Erin Rivlin-Sakata, was a monologue reading of one of those cheerful newsletters one often gets in the mail this time of year. The author, a bright and perkey housewife (think Corky Sherwood from Murphey Brown… on steroids) relates the trials of her life, her husband, her children, her new step-child, Kai-son, a Vietnam-war baby who just shows up, wears string bikinis all the times, and only knows how to say “give me five dolla”. She talks about how her daughter had a crack baby. The monologue ends on a sad note, when she leaves the baby with Kai-son, telling her to watch the baby. Kai-son hears “wash”, and proceeds to run the baby through the laundry. The monologue was written by David Sedaris. Seasons greetings!
- Santaland Diaries, performed by George Chavez II, can best be described as: Are you a man, or are you an Elf? It is a monologue of a man in New York, who needing work, answers an ad from Macy*s to be an elf in “Santaland”. He goes on to describe his training, the layout, the people, the Santas, the moms, the dads, the other elfs, and the whole craziness that is the Santa setup at Macy*s. This was actually a very very funny routine. The “Santaland Diaries” routine was written by NPR humorist David Sedaris. You can hear some audio selections here.
The performances were excellent — we have been uniformly pleased with the work of the Santa Clarita Rep East this season. They have announced their 2007 season: A Few Good Men (Aaron Sorkin; Jan 19-Feb 17); The Last 5 Years (Jason Robert Brown; Mar 9-Apr 7); Driving Miss Daisy (Alfred Uhry; May 18-Jun 16); All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (Robert Fulghum; Sep 21-Oct 20); and The Unexpected Guest (Agatha Christie; Nov 9-Dec 8). For summer in the park, they are doing A Midsummers Night Dream.
And with this review, I bring our 2006 Theatre Year to a close. I hope you have enjoyed reading these reviews as much as I have enjoyed writing them. I do encourage you to go out and see live theatre — there is nothing so good as a play or a musical on the stage.
For us, there is one more review upcoming in 2006: our annual Christmas movie… we’re planning on going to go see Dreamgirls. I saw the original stage production when it toured in Los Angeles in the 1980s, so it should be an interesting comparison. As for our 2007 calendar: there is 13 at the Mark Taper Forum on January 14; Defiance at the Pasadena Playhouse on February 10; Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center on February 25; Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (concert) at CSUN Performing Arts on March 10; and Smokey Joes Cafe at Cabrillo Music Theatre on March 30. I also plan to see both A Few Good Men and The Last 5 Years at REP East and They’re Playing Our Song at Valley Musical Theatre during that period; the tickets just haven’t shown up on Goldstar yet.