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  WINDY CITY TIMES

David Sedaris' "The Santaland Diaries" returns to Goodman Theatre
2019-08-20

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( Chicago, IL ) Goodman Theatre announces the return of The Santaland Diaries—a "funny, sardonic, wickedly funny look at the traditions and trappings of Christmas" ( BroadwayWorld ) by David Sedaris, adapted by Joe Mantello, November 29 — December 29 in the Owen Theatre. Directed by longtime Goodman Artistic Associate Steve Scott, The Santaland Diaries has been performed across the nation over the past two decades and is perfect for those who prefer their eggnog spiked. The 2019 production features Steven Strafford, a "talented artist and brilliant storyteller" ( Playbill ) in a solo performance as the strapped-for-cash struggling actor who takes a job as "Crumpet," an elf at Macy's Santaland—and his hilarious observations are more naughty than nice. The Santaland Diaries appears November 29 — December 29 ( opening night is December 5 at 7pm ) in the Goodman's Owen Theatre ( 170 N. Dearborn ); tickets ( $15-50; subject to change ) go on sale September 20 by telephone 312.443.3800 or online GoodmanTheatre.org . For "mature elves" only.

"Christmas isn't Christmas without the brilliant cynicism of The Santaland Diaries and I'm really looking forward to bringing this wonderfully snarky story back to the Owen stage," said Director Steve Scott. "And I'm doubly thrilled to be collaborating with Steven, an artist who I've long admired, and whose distinctive comic persona is a perfect fit for the wit of David Sedaris."

Sedaris debuted The Santaland Diaries as an essay on National Public Radio ( NPR ) in 1992. On the heels of that success, it was published in his essay collections Barrel Fever and Holidays on Ice. It was subsequently adapted by Mantello into a one-act, one-man stage production, which premiered at Atlantic Theater Company ( 1996 ).

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Steven Strafford ( Crumpet ) returns to the Goodman, where he was last seen in Wonderful Town. Chicago credits include End Days ( Windy City Playhouse ); She Loves Me, Honeymoon in Vegas( Marriott Theatre ); Little Shop of Horrors ( Drury Lane Theatre ); and Shrew'd ( First Folio Theatre ). New York credits include Songs for a More Funnier World, To Pain the Earth and The Mad Show ( The York Theatre Company ). International credits include a European tour of Grease!, an Asian tour of Cinderella ( with Lea Salonga ) and an American tour of Peter Pan ( with Cathy Rigby ). Regional credits include Snow Queen, A Christmas Carol, The Mystery of Irma Vep ( Portland Stage Company ); Spamalot, Hair, Shrek ( Broadway Sacramento ); As Bees in Honey Drown ( The Cape Playhouse ); Twelfth Night, Design For Living, Love's Labour's Lost ( Bakerloo Theatre Project ); Sense and Sensibilities ( Denver Center for the Performing Arts ). Strafford has appeared in NBC's Chicago Fire and Funny or Die's Glitzy Babes.

David Sedaris ( Playwright ) is the author of Barrel Fever and Holidays on Ice, as well as collections of personal essays, Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, When You Are Engulfed in Flames and his most recent book, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, each of which became an immediate bestseller. The audio version of Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls is a 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards Nominee for Best Spoken Word Album. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling collection of fables entitled Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary ( with illustrations by Ian Falconer ). He was also the editor of Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules: An Anthology of Outstanding Stories. Sedaris' pieces appear regularly in The New Yorker and have twice been included in "The Best American Essays." There are over ten million copies of his books in print and they have been translated into 25 languages. He and his sister, Amy Sedaris, have collaborated under the name "The Talent Family" and have written half-a-dozen plays which have been produced at La MaMa, Lincoln Center and The Drama Department in New York City. These plays include Stump the Host, Stitches, One Woman Shoe, which received an Obie Award, Incident at Cobbler's Knob and The Book of Liz, which was published in book form by Dramatists Play Service. Sedaris' original radio pieces can often be heard on the public radio show This American Life. He has been nominated for three Grammy Awards for Best Spoken Word and Best Comedy Album. His latest audio recording of new stories ( recorded live ) is "David Sedaris: Live for Your Listening Pleasure" ( November 2009 ). A book of essays entitled Calypso was published June 2018, and a second volume of his diaries is expected for summer 2019. Davidsedarisbooks.com

Steve Scott ( Director ) was the Producer for over 30 years at Goodman Theatre, where he oversaw more than 200 productions; he is now a member of Goodman's Artistic Collective. His Goodman directing credits include Ah, Wilderness!; Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike; Horton Foote's Blind Date; Rabbit Hole; Binky Rudich and the Two-Speed Clock and No One Will Be Immune for the David Mamet Festival; Dinner With Friends; Wit; the world premiere of Tom Mula's Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol; A Midsummer Night's Dream ( co-directed with Michael Maggio ) and the 2011 and 2012 editions of A Christmas Carol. Other directing credits include productions at Northlight Theatre, Silk Road Rising, American Blues Theater, A Red Orchid Theatre, Redtwist Theatre ( where he is a company member ), Shattered Globe Theatre, Eclipse Theatre Company ( where he is an ensemble member ) and many others. He is a member of the Jeff Committee's Artist and Technical Team, a board member of Season of Concern and an advisory board member at Congo Square Theatre; he also teaches on the faculty of the Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University. He was one of six resident directors for WBEZ's series "Stories on Stage," and has contributed articles to a variety of publications, including the Encyclopedia of Chicago. Scott is the recipient of six Jeff Award nominations, an After Dark Award, the Illinois Theatre Association's Award of Honor, Eclipse Theatre Company's Corona Award, the 2017 Special Jeff Award for career achievement and the League of Chicago Theatre's Lifetime Achievement Award. As an actor, he most recently appeared in Next Theatre Company's production of Are You Now or Have You Ever Been…? ( Jeff Award for Outstanding Ensemble ).

ABOUT GOODMAN THEATRE

AMERICA'S "BEST REGIONAL THEATRE" ( Time magazine ), Goodman Theatre is a premier not-for-profit organization distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and civic engagement. Led by Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the theater's artistic priorities include new play development ( more than 150 world or American premieres ), large scale musical theater works and reimagined classics ( celebrated revivals include Falls' productions of Death of a Salesman and The Iceman Cometh ). Goodman Theatre artists and productions have earned two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards, over 160 Jeff Awards and many more accolades. In addition, the Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson's "American Century Cycle;" and its annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, which celebrates 42 years this season, has created a new generation of theatergoers. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production partner with local off-Loop theaters and national and international companies by providing financial support or physical space for a variety of artistic endeavors.

Committed to three core values of Quality, Diversity and Community, the Goodman proactively makes inclusion the fabric of the institution and develops education and community engagement programs that support arts as education. This practice uses the process of artistic creation to inspire and empower youth, lifelong learners and audiences to find and/or enhance their voices, stories and abilities. The Goodman's Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home of such programming, most offered free of charge, and has vastly expanded the theater's ability to touch the lives of Chicagoland citizens ( with 85% of youth participants coming from underserved communities ) since its 2016 opening.

Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago's cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family's legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth's family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation of the new Goodman center in 2000.

Today, Goodman Theatre leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Kimberly Senior, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. David W. Fox, Jr. is Chairman of Goodman Theatre's Board of Trustees, Denise Stefan Ginascol is Women's Board President and Megan McCarthy Hayes is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.

—From a press release


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