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Diverse City Theater Company Discovers the Truth about Santa
"Santa Claus Is Coming Out"
Directed by Joe Brancato Presented by Diverse City Theater Company
The Kirk Theatre 410 West 42nd Street
Opened Dec. 4, 2009 Closes Dec. 20, 2009
Mon., Wed., Thurs. and Sat. 8 p.m., Fri. 7 & 9:30 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 2 p.m.
Tickets: $45 (212) 279-4200
Reviewed by Paulanne Simmons Dec. 7, 2009
Every year Christmastime produces a slew of holiday shows. Some, like "White Christmas," are family oriented. Others poke fun at the whole tradition or offer a variant of some aspect of the beloved stories or the characters who have gathered around the holiday.
"Santa Claus is Coming Out" is a one-man show written and preformed by Jeffrey Solomon, with direction by Joe Brancato. The show imagines that Santa Claus is a closeted gay and longtime lover of Giovanni Geppetto, an Italian toymaker who is the great-great-great-great grandson of Pinocchio.
Santa has a wife, a third-rate actress hired to protect Santa's image. But when Giovanni spills the beans, the religious right goes into action. Convinced that Santa is a tool of gay activists, they are determined to destroy him.
Help comes when all those Santa fans who don't particularly care about Santa's sexual orientation rally around their hero. They want the world to know that they still love the jolly, bearded inhabitant of the North Pole and all those wonderful gifts he brings.
Solomon plays all the characters in the play including Sidney Green, the Jew who saved Christmas; Gary a young boy dealing with being gay and having a less than sensitive father; and Gary's best friend, Cheyenne, a tough and streetwise black girl. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and friendly elves uphold personal integrity.
Solomon gives each of his characters a very specific personality. He juggles his roles effortlessly, never leaving any doubt who he is at the moment. He also does a good job maintaining the conventions of a police investigation.
Sometimes Solomon takes himself a tad too seriously. A play about a gay Santa, even a "mock-u-drama," may not be the best medium for a statement about gay rights. But for the most part the play sticks to fun and fantasy. And isn't that what Santa, gay or straight, is all about?
Photos by Bree Warner.
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