Is he or isn't he? Only Santa's elves know for sure.

T ired of the same old stuffed stockings? The Actors Theatre of San Antonio has teamed up with the newly created FMP Productions to stage the "ATSA XXX-Mas Special," four shows full of outré, adult, alternative Christmas cheer.

SantaLand Diaries, directed by Jerry Pilato, began life as a series of reports by author David Sedaris for National Public Radio. It has since become a holiday fixture in Austin, and Pilato plans to develop it into one here. The tradition-in-the-making is a tale of an out-of-work actor "slumming" in Macy's as a seasonal employee, and features Brad Milne as the elf-in-question.

7:30pm Fri, 8pm Sat
Through Dec 20

8:30pm Fri, 7:30pm Sat
Through Dec 20

8:30pm Fri, 7:30pm Sat
Through Dec 20

11pm Fri & Sat
Through Dec 20

All shows at Woodlawn Theatre
$13 adult, $8 student
$30 for all four shows
1920 Fredericksburg
Downstairs, things get a little darker in the brand new lounge/cabaret performance area (so new it has yet to be named, though the eventual moniker will include a nod to the late Dean McLain, who began work on the space some years ago). The lounge is home to some pissed-off reindeer from Jeff Goode's The Eight: The Reindeer Monologues, also directed by Pilato. Donnie Neubauer, Jimmie Vohs, Travis McElroy, Greg Price, Don Fox, Shellie Chance, Christy Huffman, and Mark Hicks deliver a series of blackly comic speeches that dish the dirt on Santa from the antlered-ones' perspective. The hilarious/horrible script reads like something out of recent headlines as Vixen sues Santa for rape, and Rudolph languishes in a post-abuse coma.

The latter part of the program is fun, festive fare directed by Don Fox. The Balcony Theatre presents Jeffrey Soloman's Santa Claus Is Coming Out: Or How the Gay Agenda Came Down My Chimney. Written as a one-man show, this version features a cast of two (Lee Marshall and Dave Cortez) playing 17 different characters who deal with the revelation that Santa Claus is gay. Santa's press agent freaks and hires an actress to play Mrs. Claus. Rudolph, the activist reindeer, is actually very supportive of Santa's decision. The elves are ambivalent, the Religious Right comes into it, and there is a surprisingly sweet ending.

The lounge features Keola's Truly Gay Yuletide Cabaret, with Keola and the Ho-Ho Hos (Pussy Poinsettia, Little Miss Mistletoe, and Hot Hot Holly) belting out an irreverent medley of songs spoofing the season. Particularly promising is a number called "You're an Asshole Until Christmas."

Fox's two shows mark the debut of FMP (named for its founders Don Fox, Lee Marshall, and Jerry Pilato), which promises to fill a niche in the SA theater scene. "We wanted to do some really fun shows that are marketed primarily toward the gay community or gay-friendly audience," says Fox. FMP hopes to incorporate local drag talent, and plans to present Marshall's play, Miss Yellow Rose, a spoof on the drag pageant world, in the spring.

The "ATSA XXX-Mas Special" is a flexible feast. You can see the shows singly, or play the field and sample them all. A $30 pass will get you into all four, and your ticket stub for one show is good for $2 off the admission of any other. It's the biggest coming out party of the season and one thing is for sure, it won't be like any of the other politically correct, non-denominational, family-too-friendly holiday events you will attend this year. •

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More by Laurie Dietrich



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