Naughty ‘Santaland’ returns to Loft Theatre

Tim Lile stars as naughty Macy’s elf Crumpet in the Human Race Theatre Company’s production of David Sedaris’ edgy comedy “The Santaland Diaries” Dec. 8-17 at the Loft Theatre. CONTRIBUTED
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Tim Lile stars as naughty Macy’s elf Crumpet in the Human Race Theatre Company’s production of David Sedaris’ edgy comedy “The Santaland Diaries” Dec. 8-17 at the Loft Theatre. CONTRIBUTED

You better watch out. Crumpet is back.

The persistently peeved Macy’s department store elf-gone-bad at the center of David Sedaris’ hilariously naughty 1996 one-man comedy “The Santaland Diaries” returns to tell it like it is for 10 performances only, courtesy of the Human Race Theatre Company beginning Thursday, Dec. 8 at the Loft Theatre.

Starring Human Race resident artist Tim Lile, reprising his delightful portrayal from last season’s sold-out engagement, “Santaland Diaries,” directed by Human Race resident artist Scott Stoney and adapted by Tony Award-winning director Joe Mantello, provides a wickedly witty alternative to standard holiday fare strictly intended for adults.

As the mad rush of the season swirls around him, the irreverently opinionated Crumpet attempts to cope with the throng of shoppers and their kids on a quest to see Santa. Whether catering to special requests or handling vomit duty, his journey is not without its share of genuinely comical and occasionally jaw-dropping moments. In fact, the play was originally written as an essay based on Sedaris’ true experiences as a Santaland elf in Macy’s department store in New York City. After he read the essay on National Public Radio in 1992, Sedaris published it in his collections “Barrel Fever” and “Holidays on Ice.”

“During the holidays, I think all of us, at some point or another, find ourselves just a bit fed up with all of it,” said Lile, whose previous Human Race credits include “A Tuna Christmas,” “Moonlight and Magnolias” and “Lend Me a Tenor.” “These feelings may not linger as long as it does for Crumpet or Sedaris, but people can still relate to it. This isn’t your typical holiday show. This isn’t ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ However, this play allows audiences to release some of the holiday tension they’re carrying. The result is a considerable amount of laughter on the part of the audience.”

An auctioneer and owner of the online auction company BidNow, LLC, Lile says he’s eager to don Crumpet’s colorful garb and grumpy persona once more. He’s aware of the challenging demands within the realm of one-person plays, but is excited to inhabit the material anew.

“This play is so much fun,” he said. “When I was initially approached to do the role, which requires me to be alone on stage for one hour, it was one of the most frightening things I ever thought about doing. But I met that fear and it was ultimately a thrill. It was such a wild ride, a true roller coaster. But we’re going to revisit the script from where we were last year and explore the piece afresh to see if there are new discoveries. Many times actors close a show and wonder what they could have done differently. So, it’s a luxury to be able to go back and do the role again especially back-to-back. But the direct play with the audience is particularly great and I hope to expand that this year. We hope to have a couple of surprises in store. “

LEGENDALE

The Human Race will present a musical theater workshop presentation of composer Andrea Daly and librettist/lyricist Jeff Bienstock’s contemporary, pop-infused musical “Legendale” Sunday, Dec. 18, at 3 p.m. at the Loft Theatre.

“Legendale” librettist/lyricist Jeff Bienstock is an alumnus of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop and particularly participated in the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project. “Legendale” will receive a reading by the Human Race Dec. 18 at the Loft Theatre. CONTRIBUTED
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“Legendale” librettist/lyricist Jeff Bienstock is an alumnus of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop and particularly participated in the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project. “Legendale” will receive a reading by the Human Race Dec. 18 at the Loft Theatre. CONTRIBUTED

“Legendale” composer Andrea Daly is a songwriter and singer based in Brooklyn. Her multi-genre output spans pop, theater, and classical, with influences ranging from Regina Spektor to Stephen Schwartz and Aaron Copland. CONTRIBUTED
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“Legendale” composer Andrea Daly is a songwriter and singer based in Brooklyn. Her multi-genre output spans pop, theater, and classical, with influences ranging from Regina Spektor to Stephen Schwartz and Aaron Copland. CONTRIBUTED

Based on a story by Bienstock and Daly and directed by John Simpkins, “Legendale” blends romance, adventure and virtual reality. Saddled with a miserable job and humdrum existence, Andy looks to online game “Legendale” as a means of escape. He dreams of victory in the game’s tournament but is stuck competing as a lowly milkmaid. When the online world becomes real, Andy and his avatar must tap into their inner warrior.

“I am so excited to bring ‘Legendale’ to the Human Race for this workshop and reading,” said president and artistic director Kevin Moore. “I’ve been enamored with it since I saw parts of it at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre Festival of New Musicals last year. This is a unique kind of musical. It blends this virtual, online fantasy universe of characters with their real-world counterparts. Each impacts the other and is equally important to a story about empowerment that is epic and intimate at the same time. There is truly something in it for everyone.”

The cast includes Human Race resident artists Jamie Cordes, Scott Hunt, Katie Pees and Scott Stoney as well as Leslie Goddard, Colin Hodgkin, Nathan Pecchia and Cody Westbrook. Human Race resident artist Scot Woolley serves as musical director. The presentation serves as the creative team’s final opportunity to fine tune the musical before its March 2017 world premiere at Fredercia Teater in Denmark.

Advance tickets to the reading are $18. Tickets are $24 at the door. Seating is general admission. An audience talkback with the writers follows the reading. For tickets, call (937) 228-3630 or visit humanracetheatre.org or ticketcenterstage.com

THURGOOD

The Human Race will produce the local premiere of George Stevens, Jr.’s 2008 one-man drama “Thurgood” April 27-May 14, 2017 at the Philips Creativity Center starring Human Race resident artist Alan Bomar Jones. The production is a recent addition to the organization’s 2016-2017 season.

“Thurgood” tells the stirring tale of Thurgood Marshall, the Supreme Court’s first African-American justice, from his early days in Baltimore, to Howard University Law School, to battling segregation in the South, to serving on the highest court in the land in 1967. Group sales are available now. Single tickets go on sale next month. For more information, visit humanracetheatre.org.


WANT TO GO?

What: "The Santaland Diaries"

Where: Loft Theatre of Metropolitan Arts Center, 126 N. Main St., Dayton.

When: Dec. 8-17; 7 p.m. Dec. 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, and 16; 5 p.m. Dec. 10 and 17; 9 p.m. Dec. 10 and 17.

Cost: $24. Loft subscribers can purchase tickets for $18.

Tickets: Call (937) 228-3630 or visit humanracetheatre.org or ticketcenterstage.com

Group sales: Contact Betty Gould at (937) 461-8295 or e-mail Betty.Gould@victoriatheatre.com

FYI: The Dec. 14 performance is "Young Professionals Night" sponsored by UpDayton. Miami Valley young professionals are invited to attend a pre-show backstage tour of the Loft Theatre beginning at 5:15 p.m. and reception at Human Race's Philips Creativity Center, then to stay after the performances to meet Tim Lile. Tickets are available online through ticketcenterstage.com by clicking on the Dec. 14 performance and typing in the code "HOHOYP" or by calling Ticket Center Stage directly.

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