Downstage Revives Sedaris' The Santaland Diaries 12/17-1/4

Downstage Revives Sedaris' The Santaland Diaries 12/17-1/4Downstage @ New Rep is reviving its holiday celebration of anti-cheer with David Sedaris' hilarious autobiographical solo show, The Santaland Diaries. The one-man comedy that satirizes everything we love to hate about the holidays opens for the press on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. and plays through January 4, 2009 in the Black Box Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts.

"This show is the perfect treat for adults who need a break from the stresses of the holidays. Sedaris' memoirs provide prime material for a terrific performance," said Rick Lombardo, New Rep's Producing Artistic Director. This year, The Santaland Diaries will be directed by Christopher Webb and will feature Kraig Swartz as Crumpet.

After a sold-out run Downstage @ New Rep last season, Crumpet, the wickedly funny Macy's Elf returns to the Black Box Theater in this strange-but-true account of adventures in holiday retailing. If you've had enough of the usual heartwarming holiday fare, it's the perfect antidote.

New Repertory Theatre produces plays that speak powerfully to the essential ideas of our time. Through the passion and electricity of live theater performed to the highest standards of excellence, New Rep expands and challenges the human spirit of both artists and audience. New Rep presents world premieres, contemporary and classic works in several intimate settings. We are committed to education and outreach, including special dedication to the creation of innovative in-school programming and providing access to underserved audiences. New Rep is an active advocate for the arts and a major voice in the national dialogue defining the role of theater in our culture.

New Rep has received Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards for outstanding acting, scenic design, direction, and production. Programming at New Repertory Theatre is supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

The Artists:

Kraig Swartz (Crumpet) is making his New Rep Debut with The Santaland Diaries. In Chicago, he appeared for four consecutive Christmases as Ira the Jewish Elf in Breakfast with Santa at Carson Pirie Scott Department Store, which immediately afterward filed for bankruptcy. Non-elfin Chicago credits include: Goodman Theatre; Victory Gardens; Bailiwick Rep; and Dromio of Syracuse in Comedy of Errors at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Off-Broadway credits include: Edward Voysey in The Voysey Inheritance; Mr. Windlesham in The Madras House and in Jungle Book at BAM. Philadelphia credits include: Mason Marzak in Take Me Out (2005 Barrymore Award) and Fully Committed (2003 Barrymore Award), both at Philadelphia Theatre Company; and Betty/Edward in Cloud 9 at the Wilma Theatre (2006 Barrymore Award nomination.) Regional: Louis Ironson in Angels in America at Milwaukee Rep; Major Barbara at Rep Theatre of St. Louis; A Christmas Carol and MacBeth at the Guthrie Theatre; Beauty & The Beast at Pioneer Theatre; Peter Pan at Alabama Shakespeare Festival; Syncopation at Asolo Theatre; Fully Committed at Coconut Grove Playhouse, Broadway Bound (opposite Jayne Houdyshell) at MeadowBrook Theater (Detroit Free Press Theatre Excellence Award); Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center; and Love! Valour! Compassion! and Bent (Carbonell Award Nominations) at Caldwell Theatre. He has spent 13 idyllic summers at the Peterborough Players in Peterborough, NH. He has appeared on television in SNL and in the film World and Time Enough.

Christopher Webb (director) is excited to be spending the holiday season directing this wonderful production. As a director, his credits include: Guys and Dolls and You Can't Take it With You (Stoneham Theater Young Co.); The Trophy and Outed (Boston Theatre Marathon); Savage/Love (Northern Illinois University); War in Heaven (The National Theatre Conservatory); Babel Rap, No Exit, and The Food Chain (Western Michigan University); and the original works: Hero(Starving Artists Theatre Company), Revolution: a Song of Black Freedom, and faith & redemption (Northern Illinois University); Voodoo Child (The National Theatre Conservatory); and his adaptation of Antigone (the Munroe Center for the Arts). Later on this season, he will also be directing The Rainmaker for Foothills Theatre Company and New Rep On Tour's production of Of Mice and Men. He was most recently seen last winter as Louis in Boston Theatre Works' Elliot Norton Award-winning production of Angels in America. His regional acting credits include: As Bees in Honey Drown and Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged (Foothills Theatre Company); Nobody (Boston Theatre Works Unbound); Hero (Starving Artists Theatre Company); Wait Until Dark, What the Butler Saw, and True West (Borealis Theatre Company); A Streetcar Named Desire (New World Repertory); Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing (Michigan Shakespeare Festival); and Love's Labours Lost, A Christmas Carol, The Skin of Our Teeth, Hay Fever, A Lie of the Mind, Bernice/Butterfly: a Two Part Invention, Pierre, A Skull in Connemara, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Debating Society, and The Little Foxes (Denver Center Theatre Company). He will appear in Martin Scorsese's upcoming film Shutter Island. He has been a faculty member of the Denver Center Theatre Academy, The Illinois Institute of Art, Stoneham Theatre, The Munroe Center for the Arts, The United South End Settlements, New Repertory Theatre, Harding Jones Talent Management in New York City, and currently teaches with The Boston Conservatory, as well as being the Education Associate for New Repertory Theatre. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance from Western Michigan University, a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from The National Theatre Conservatory, and is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association.
David Sedaris (playwright) made his comic debut recounting his strange-but-true experiences of being a Macy's elf clad in green tights, reading his Santaland Diaries on National Public Radio's Morning Edition. Sedaris' sardonic humor and incisive social critique have since made him one of NPR's most popular and humorous commentators and a bestselling author in the United States and abroad. The great skill with which Sedaris slices through euphemisms and political correctness proves that he is a master of satire. Everywhere he goes, David Sedaris delights his audience with his irreverent style and great humor. In addition to his commentaries on NPR, David Sedaris is the author of the best sellers Barrel Fever, Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. His other book, a collection of Christmas-related stories, is entitled Holidays on Ice. His most recent book of essays, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, was published in June 2008 and became an immediate bestseller. David and his sister, Amy Sedaris, have collaborated under the name The Talent Family and written several plays which have been produced at La Mama and at Lincoln Center in New York City. These plays include Strump the Host, Stitches, One Woman Show, which received an Obie award, Incident At Cobbler's Knob, and The Book of Liz. David is a regular contributor to Esquire magazine, and his essays have also appeared in The New Yorker, Allure and Travel and Leisure. Sedaris' original radio pieces can often be heard on public radio's This American Life, distributed nationally by WBEZ in Chicago, as well as BBC radio in London. David Sedaris currently resides in Paris.

Joe Mantello (adaptor) Directing credits include: Assassins (Tony Award); Wicked; Take Me Out (Tony Award); Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune; A Man of No Importance; Design for Living; Terrence McNally and Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking for the San Francisco Opera; The Vagina Monologues; Bash; Another American: Asking and Telling; Love! Valour! Compassion!; Proposals; The Minneola Twins; Corpus Christi; Mizlansky/Zilinsky or Schmucks; Blue Window; God's Heart; The Santaland Diaries; Lillian; Snakebit; Three Hotels; Imagining Brad; Fat Men in Skirts; and The Ritz. Mr. Mantello also directed the film Love! Valour! Compassion! As an actor, he appeared in Angels in America (Tony nomination) and The Baltimore Waltz. He is the recipient of the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Helen Hayes, Clarence Derwent, Obie and Joe A. Callaway Awards. He is a member of Naked Angels and an associate artist at the Roundabout.

Facts at a Glance

Company: New Repertory Theatre

Where: In residence at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, in the Black Box Theater, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA 02472

Production: The Santaland Diaries

Author: David Sedaris Adapted by Joe Mantello

Director: Christopher Web

Cast: Kraig Swartz as Crumpet

Designers: Scenic Design - Cristina Todesco Costume Design - Molly Trainer
Sound Design - Scott G. Nason

Performing: Press Opening: Wednesday, December 17, 2007 at 7:30 p.m.

Runs through: Sunday, January 4, 2009 at 3:00 p.m.

Performances: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. (Opening)
Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 19, 2008 at 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 20, 2008 at 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 20, 2008 at 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 21, 2008 at 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 21, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008 at 4:00 p.m.
Friday, December 26, 2008 at 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 28, 2008 at 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 28, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 3:00 p.m.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, January 1, 2009 at 3:00 p.m.
Thursday, January 1, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
Friday, January 2, 2009 at 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 3, 2009 at 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 4, 2009 at 3:00 p.m.

Tickets: Full Price $30. Seniors $5 off full-price tickets. Students $15. Call 617-923-8487, or buy online at

Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible
Assisted Listening System
Box office with TTY
For TTY only, dial 617-923-2067
Large-Print and Braille Programs available

Transportation: #70 or #70A bus to the School Street stop

Parking: Free, six-level parking garage across from the Arsenal
Center for the Arts

For Press Inquiries: Contact Gia Podobinski at 617-923-7060, extension 205
Or e-mail


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