The Santaland Diaries Closing (Theater and Galleries) Member Picks Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 3 2009

In the ten years since it was first adapted for the stage, David Sedaris's Yule-phobic 1992 screed--a kind of Misery on 34th Street--has perversely become a Christmas classic. Riffing on Nikolai Gogol's Diary of a Madman, this careening monologue depicts the breakdown of a 42-year-old would-be writer when he takes a job as a Macy's holiday elf named Crumpet. Jeremy Wechsler's staging detonates Sedaris's catalogue of hyper customers, schizoid Santas, horny "helpers," and children desperate to believe despite the consumer mania that surrounds them. Sly and effortlessly endearing, Mitchell Fain plays the audience like a harp, relishing the delicious details of Sedaris' naughty confession. There's even room for unforced sentiment, as Fain describes a Santa who actually cares about the kids. --Lawrence Bommer

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