Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer


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Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer, Sweetback Productions, at the Theatre Building. In this parody of the 1964 children's television special, the sweetly vulnerable outcast reindeer (Trevin Gay) is a cross-dresser in pumps and red stockings ("He's accessorizing!" his horrified parents shriek), his girlfriend (Tracy Repep) is a riot grrrl, and the abominable Drag Beast (the perfectly campy Ed Jones) is a Cher impersonator. Santa (Michael Buino), a vicious executive, slings insults at his alcoholic wife (Steve Hickson) and insists that his unhappy elves, who are all buff gay club boys, put on cheerful faces. Joining Rudolph in his flight from home are Herbie (Dan Hickey), the "not gay enough" elf who wants to be a dentist, and lesbian prospector Yukon (Tina Haglund). When they land at the Island of Misfit Toys, they find a trailer-trash Barbie (Christopher Zimowski) and a gay G.I. Joe (Rus Rainear).

David Cerda and Scott Lamberty's music, with lyrics by Cerda, is feeble except for "Christmas Makes Me Bitter," whose jaunty harmonies overcome such lines as "the rainbow flag is dumb." But overall the show is bitingly funny, especially Chris Carpenter in his uncanny, sarcastic parody of the narrator snowman.

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