A QUEER CAROL

HANG ON TO YOUR SANTA HAT – SCROOGE IS A GAY FASHION DESIGNER IN THIS NEW VERSION OF Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Jake Marley, Scrooge’s partner in the fashion business was Scrooge’s lover. Do you get the feeling that this play with music will make the religious right shoot nails out of their butts? But wait – there’s more. Bob Cratchet, who gets crapped on by Scrooge at the Design firm, lives with Tim. No, not Tiny Tim. This Tim is his lover.

The playwright Joe Godfrey has taken the Dickens classic and brought it up to the modern day with Cell phones and present day bitchiness and calls it “A Queer Carol”. Sure, he takes plenty of liberties on the old story, but what fun it is to see someone take a classic war horse and turn it into a really hilarious and edgy Christmas story. I loved every moment of it.

The cast is evenly talented. Many of them play multiple roles. The most intriguing and visually effective is Sheelagh Murphy who plays, among other characters, Marilyn Monroe. What is Monroe doing in the Christmas Carol? Well, she sings a Christmas song in Christmas past. Now how inventive is that? I’d say it’s pretty damn imaginative. Not only does Murphy really resemble Monroe (a little more buxom perhaps) -- she sounds like her. Do I see a one-woman show down the line about Monroe?

Andrew Calebrese (Tim, Young Scrooge) is a Xmas treat. D’Arquoia Connor has a “Dream Girls” singing voice. The talent scouts look in all the wrong places – she should be in the ‘Dream Girls’ movie. Jerry A. Deal (Bob Cratchit, Noel, and Fezziwig) radiates warm, good humor that is infectious.

Lisa Hensley (Carol, Nicole, Scrooge’s mother, Nurse) has her hands full with all these characters and she’s a master of all. Joseph Holmes (Fred, Pytor) brings the beef to this show – literally. Sam Rubin, the youngest actor in the cast plays Scrooge as a boy. The kid is small, but his acting is huge. Finishing off this cast of thousands is Dann Howard and Michael Vega. Both turn in splendid performances that make this play ‘like nothing you’ve ever seen before.’ The Director, Clay David has turned this story into an eye-popping epic. It’s the Big Bang of the season.

At the New Conservatory Theatre Center.

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (Highest rating)

HELP IS ON THE WAY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL

I DON’T KNOW HOW THEY DO IT. BUT EACH YEAR THE CHRISTMAS SHOW AT THE HERBST THEATER THAT BENEFITS SEVERAL CHARITIES JUST SEEMS TO GET MORE EXCITING EACH YEAR.


Rip Taylor

This year’s “Help is on the way for the Holidays” VIII, directed by Martin Reuter was beyond breathtaking. Heck, its even beyond “Bed and Bath. This show was superb. The talent assembled was everyone’s dream cast. The show really did live up to the hype with stars like Nancy Sinatra (who got a rousing welcome) and Rip Taylor, who tried to bury the audience in confetti. Taylor has got to be the biggest talent in the world. He is sidesplitting funny. He still wears the sequined blouse as he races down the aisle yelling at the people to get out of his way. “I’ve been doing this for years…and that’s what kept me out of the top” – he says. Then, he looks at the piano player who was playing some special material. “STOP! STOP”, he yelled. “You got the job.” He’s a grand pop spectacle and marvel of fun. Dare I say “Tons of Fun?” If they’d auction him off – I’d buy him for a couple of weeks.

La Toya London has really become a huge favorite at these shows. And, with good reason. She is the consummate entertainer. Her voice soars, her personality shines and she picks songs that you play over and over in your mind. Plus, she is stunning and she’s also spirited and sexy. What a snazzy treat to see her again.

Anthony Fedorov, the young, good looking singer who rose to the top on “American Idol”, has plenty of name recognition judging by the hoots and hollers as he took the stage. His performance kept everyone riveted. He put a wild feeling into his song. And, you know what else? He comes across as being a great guy. There are no pretensions about him…and that’s what makes him so likeable, plus the enormous talent.

Producers Joe Seiler and Ken Henderson couldn’t have put together a more delightful evening. There are many more stars in the show then I have room to mention. Hopefully, many of them will be at the Next “Help” which is moving back to the “Palace of Fine Arts.” Thanks guys. It was first class, elegant and really entertaining evening.



The Photo of Lee Hartgrave Boy Reporter is by Jim Ferreira – Film Noir & Hollywood Glamour. www.lafterhall.com.

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