If you need a well-deserved respite from all the holiday shopping and bingeing of late November and early December, I’ve got just the right sweet candy cane to stuff into your stocking. It’s called “The Santaland Diaries.” It’s a one-man, one-act show written by Tony Award-winning Broadway director Joe Mantello based on New York Times best-selling humorist David Sedaris (“Naked,” “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls”). And it’s playing at Rancho Mirage’s very own Desert Rose Playhouse on Highway 111 (www.desertroseplayhouse.org) through December 18.
Directed and designed by Desert Rose artistic director Jim Strait (with costumes by Robbie Wayne and lighting by Phil Murphy), “The Santaland Diaries” stars Los Angeles actor Chris Clonts as “Crumpet.” It all began as a short essay Sedaris read on National Public Radio on December 23, 1992. In 1996, Mantello adapted the piece for the stage in New York City, launching it at the Atlantic Theater Company on November 7. It has since become a holiday staple at community and regional theatres across the country.
It’s quite hilariously based on Sedaris’ true experiences of portraying poor “Crumpet the Elf” in Macy’s Santaland display. “It’s not your usual Christmas memories,” explain Strait and his producer husband Paul Taylor on the Desert Rose website. “Due to frank discussions of Santa’s various activities as well as depictions of how parents, children, employees, elves, and others handle the excitement, tension, and occasional terror of the holiday season, ‘The Santaland Diaries’ is not really appropriate for children.”
“The Santaland Diaries” plays Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00, and at Sunday matinées at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $32 and $35, and may be purchased online at the website above or by calling the box office directly at 760-202-3000.
As everyone knows, the holidays can be maddeningly busy. So why not give yourself a time-out and head on over to the Desert Rose Playhouse for an evening of Yuletide-inspired fun and laughter? See you there! I’ll be the one in the front row sipping nog and wearing red and white striped stockings with green, pointy, chiming elfin slippers!