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‘Santaland Diaries’ at BTE and Open Stage

November 27, 2011
By JACK FELIX - Sun-Gazette Correspondent , Williamsport Sun-Gazette

The jolly old man may be "making a list and checking it twice," but it is area theatregoers who can check out "The Santaland Diaries" twice on area stages in December.

The Open Stage of Harrisburg and the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble will present David Sedaris' one-man show, "The Santaland Diaries," for those who prefer their holiday entertainment to be more naughty than nice.

In 1992, American humorist David Sedaris debuted "The Santaland Diaries" on National Public Radio, detailing his experiences as an unemployed actor who, on a dare from his roommate, applies for a job at Macy's Department store during the crunch of the holiday season.

Article Photos

“Santaland Diaries” will be performed at the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble and Open Stage of Harrisburg. Richie Canady will play Crumpet the Elf for the BTE?version and Stuart Landon, above, will perform as Crumpet the Elf for the Open Stage version.

Four years later, Tony award-winning director Joe Mantello adapted the short story into a one- man show, which has become a cult classic with its scathingly unkind but screamingly funny diary entries.

"The Santaland Diaries" is adult fare and recommended for mature audiences due to its language, as Sedaris makes both outlandish and subtle observations while playing Crumpet the Elf.

The entries follow the actor through the application process, his days of Elf training, the daily routine filled with thousands of visitors to Macy's Santaland, dealing with a variety of difficult Santas, the politics of co-existing with other elves and his struggle to survive an often humiliating job during the crassy and overly-commercialized holiday without losing his sanity or spirit.

Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble (Dec. 8 to 11) - This is BTE's alternate offering to "Holiday Memories," which opened this weekend.

I first saw "The Santaland Diaries" several years ago with former Ensemble member Tom Byrn playing Crumpet the Elf. It was Byrn's hilarious portrayal that prompted me to recommend the show to Stephen Sunderlin, Millbrook Playhouse's artistic director, who staged it in the Cabaret as part of its "Christmas In July" attractions.

In the current production, BTE's Richie Cannady plays Crumpet with Elizabeth Dowd directing. BTE urges theatregoers to "Go ahead and indulge in your inner Scrooge ... "Santaland ... is the perfect antidote to that relentless Christmas cheer."

"The Santaland Diaries" will be staged at the Moose Exchange, 203 W. Main St., Bloomsburg.

For reservations, call 784-8181 or 800-282-0283 or visit

Open Stage of Harrisburg (8 p.m. Dec. 1 through 3,8,9, 15 to 17 and 2 p.m. Dec. 4 and 11) - Stuart Landon, who was a popular performer at Millbrook Playhouse several summers ago, is donning the green elf costume playing Crumpet in Open Stage's off-beat holiday show.

Executive Artistic Director Donald L. Alsedek, who directs "The Santaland Diaries," urges Landon's many fans that "... you owe it to yourself to see Stuart Landon in candy cane tights."

This production emphasizes Crumpet's creed that "nothing says 'holiday spirit' more than bratty kids' temper tantrums and sozzed Santas."

Open Stage is located in the intimate Angino Family Theatre, 223 Walnut St. on the Street level of the Walnut Street Garage in downtown Harrisburg.

For reservations, call 717-232-OPEN, ext. 6736 or visit



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