CHRISTMAS IN HELL ??!! – Thought it would be fun to eschew the treacly this holiday season and  go for something easy, irreverent and not too expensive.  So, this post is about a casual early Holiday outing to the YORK THEATER production of something called …. CHRISTMAS IN HELL.   No, not your typical holiday fare – which makes it fun and refreshing! Written by Simpsons writer, Gary Apple, this is a new and grown-up take on, uh, sort of a Christmas story.     We’re going on Thursday, December 6th at 2:30pm to their Off-Off Broadway location at St Peter’s  Church in the  Citicorp Center (Hmmmm…. Is it still called that anymore?).  Tickets are $60.   Point here is to get off the beaten track – especially around the holidays!  And afterwards, we’ll head even farther east to a special, and slightly secret landmarked location for a festive drinky-poo and breathtaking view.  Cheers to you!  Tickets are $60.  MEMBERS: Go to the Sign Up! tab on the members’ site and secure your ticket there. 

Looking for a sweet, wholesome holiday musical? Well, this ain’t it! The focus here is on laughter and fun while skewering some of the more traditional entertainment fare during the holidays.  Actually, there IS a touching conclusion – but you won’t be buried in sweet goo while you get there.  In a nutshell: on Christmas Eve, little 8-year-old Davin is mistakenly taken down to Hell. When he returns, not only has he missed Christmas, but he is devilishly changed. To set things right, his father embarks on a bizarre odyssey that eventually leads him down to Hell itself where he makes a wager with Lucifer he can’t possibly win.

Sounds a little like DAMN YANKEES, doesn’t it (yes, I think there’s a musical theater reference  just about everywhere!) – which is one of the best shows ever.  Not surprisingly from a Simpsons creator, Gary Apple’s CHRISTMAS IN HELL (he did  the music, lyrics and book) is essentially about the crazy lengths we’ll go to for the ones we love.  And what’s more appropriate for the holidays than that?

For those of you not familiar with the YORK THEATRE COMPANY – it’s a good time to get to know them.  They are – truly –  NY’s best not-for-profit musical theater troupe.  The York has been around for just shy of fifty years and NY’s musical theater afficianados keep them on speed dial as a way to see fresh, quality, productions of older and also brand new musical works.  To give you an idea, for many years, the York was  the only “amateur” group in New York that  Stephen Sondheim would allow to perform his works (he  is notoriously picky and has to approve every single production of his work) because he felt he would get a feel how well they worked at a less than Broadway-sized scale.  I became a convert in 1984 when I saw a York production of PACIFIC OVERTURES – a work I had sort of written off since its initial Broadway outing as being too esoteric, complex …etc – but it was perfect and gave me a new appreciation.  Yes, THAT’s why you go to the York.  So, let’s go!

With so much wonderful professional theater in our fair city, it’s easy to forget that there is a whole world of amazing theater in New York far, far, far away from 42nd and Broadway.


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