HARRISBURG - The jolly old man may be "checking his list twice" but it is area theatergoers who can check out Stuart Landon twice in December at the Open Stage of Harrisburg.
Landon, who, in addition to acting and teaching, is currently the marketing and sales director of the professional regional theater located in downtown Harrisburg, has a faithful following since his acting stints at Mill Hall's Millbrook Playhouse and Boiling Springs' Allenberry Playhouse. The veteran of several Open Stage productions in the last few years, including its last attraction "Frost/Nixon," will wear two hats this holiday season, one of which is an oversized elf's cap.
Currently playing Dylan Thomas in "A Child's Christmas in Wales" till Dec. 15, Landon will switch from being the "nice" Dylan Thomas to the "naughty" elf Crumpet in "The Santaland Diaries" Dec. 18 through 29.
Stuart Landon will be featured in “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”?and “The Santaland Diaries” at the Open Stage of Harrisburg. For tickets and information for both shows, call 717-232-6736; or visit openstagehbg.com.
The intimate theater is located on the street level of the Walnut Street Garage, 223 Walnut St.
"A Child's Christmas in Wales" (8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday now till Dec. 15) - Originally a radio play on the BBC, and later a recording of the poet reading the work, the play combines poetry, prose, music and a narrative of Dylan Thomas' childhood holidays.
The wistful homespun tone is set in the often quoted early line, "I cannot remember if it snowed six days and six nights when I was 12, or if it snowed 12 days and 12 nights when I was 6."
The ensemble cast of eight includes a 12-year-old boy playing the young Thomas, and Landon portraying the poet in his 30s. (Landon has rollers set in his hair each night to create Thomas' distinctive wavy look.)
Set in Thomas' hometown of Swansea, South Wales, this adaptation of his beloved work weaves live traditional Welsh carols into the nostalgic tale.
As a "memory play," "A Child's Christmas in Wales" follows Dylan Thomas as a young child through his memories of perfect holidays, capturing the simple life in Wales after World War I.
"It was these memories that sustained him for the rest of his short life," said Donald Alsedek, long-time executive artistic director, who directs this production.
"Although the story is secular, there's a spiritual competent in the images of nature, the countryside and the sea." "A Child's Christmas in Wales" is gentle family entertainment.
"The Santaland Diaries" (Dec. 18 through 29) - Last year, when Donald Alsedek decided for a break in Open Stage's 11 consecutive years of producing "A Christmas Carol," the artistic director decided upon the one-man show "The Santaland Diaries" because of Landon's versatility and comical touch.
"You owe it to yourself to see Landon in candy cane tights," said Alsedek, the show's director.
The droll script is based upon humorist David Sedaris' trials and tribulations when the unemployed actor was hired by Macy's to play an elf during the 1992 holiday season.
Open Stage's version of Sedaris' autobiographical essay for National Public Radio, features Landon bemoaning his harrowing experiences as Crumpet the Elf.
Based upon last year's popularity, Landon will reprise the role of the sardonic elf who faces a gauntlet of challenges. From elf training and the harassing shoppers to the competing co-workers and unpleasant Santas, Landon's Crumpet, with a twinkling eye and mischievous grin, makes outlandish and hilarious observations on the commercialization of Christmas.
This is more naughty than nice adult fare and recommended for mature audiences. "The Santaland Diaries" emphasize Crumpet's creed that nothing says holiday spirit more than "bratty kids' temper tantrums and sozzed Santas."
For tickets and information for both shows, call 717-232-6736; or visit openstagehbg.com.