“The SantaLand Diaries”

***** It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Here we are, almost Thanksgiving ( and this year Channukah , as well) and the Holiday shows are popping up everywhere. While everyone loves this time of year, we often forget about those who have the task of working in the retail stores, catering to those who LOVE Christmas, Ths is one of the reasons that I absolutely love watching  the eevr so funny Mitchell Fain bring his version of David Sedaris’s “The Santaland Diaries” to the stage at Theater Wit on Belmont. This is a short ( 85 minutes) classic about an unemployed actor who lands a job as an “elf” at Macy’s during one Holiday season.

Yes, while we are all excited about Christmas and the wonderful programs and theatrical productions that are in all of our local theaters, do we ever think about those who must don special costumes and become someone they despise in order to pay their rent or bills? No, we do not! We enjoy the holidays as we are expected to and we live through the season as we were trained to believe we should. In Sedaris’s brilliant one man show, which has sustained a long lif e in Chicago due to the zaniness of the ever so funny Fain, we get to see the other side of what we see when we visit the Santa area of a department store. I am not sure  you are awrae of my practices, but for over 50 years, I have played Santa at many local charity driven associations. The Palatine Orchestra, Brunswick bowling Centers, Children’s Hospitals, St. James church ( every Christmas day where we feed 240 PLUS homeless people) and homes for battered women al over, so i know that people expect a great deal of a Santa ( and of course , his helpers, as well)..

In this wonderful 80 plus minutes of hysterical laughter, we get to know more about how one might describe the day in the life of an elf who has only chosen to be an elf, in order to pay their bills. This is sheer hysteria, from start to finish. The show opens with Fain on the stage talking about what he went through, after opting to apply for the seasonal job and takes us through the entire Christmas season., last day! Under the clever direction  of Jeremy Wechsler on a wonderful set (Joey Wade) with wonderful lighting by Mike Durst and a zany costume ( Mara Blumenfeld) and sound by Joseph Fosco, this is a romp that has a certain magic that other Holiday fare does not! Katie Klemme, the stage manager, keeps it all together and manages to make the adjustments needed as Fain goes  off script with regularity. This show has become a Holiday Tradition and for that we should be grateful. Yes, we have many holiday treats during the period from Thanksgiving through New Year, but most do not offer the escape and comic treasures that you will find in “The Santaland Diaries”.

This production will continue at  Theater Wit located at 1229 West Belmont Avenue through December 29th with performances as follows:

Saturdays at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.

Sundays at 3 p.m.

Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.

NO PERFORMANCE ON THANKSGIVING- spend that day wit your family.

Tickets range from $24-$35 open seating, so do not come last minute , Tickets can be purchased at the Box office, by phone at 773-975-8150 or online at www.theaterwit.org

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to review round-up and click at ” The Santaland Diaries”

Valet parking is available and if you dine at Coopers, you cna park there at no charge. They have some great sandwiches and meals- their brisket is sensational.