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VIDEO: TheatreWorks Silicon Valley presents THE SANTALAND DIARIES

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley breaks new ground in 2017 by adding a second holiday show to its season, The Santaland Diaries at the intimate 180-seat Lohman Theatre in Los Altos Hills. Written by David Sedaris, this rollicking one-man cure for an overdose of holiday hype will have a limited three-week run. Sedaris' international career as a memoirist took off when he recounted his short tenure at Macy's as Crumpet the Elf in an essay which he read on NPR's "Morning Edition" in 1992. Adapted by Joe Mantello, this unique yuletide hit shares the experience of an ill-equipped elf forced to confront child meltdowns, overbearing parents, and complacent Santas. Directed by Jeffrey Lo and starring Max Tachis as David/Crumpet, The Santaland Diaries will be presented December 5 - 23, 2017 (opening nights: December 7-8) at Lohman Theatre, 12345 S. El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills. For tickets ($20-$45) and more information the public may visit TheatreWorks.org or call (650) 463-1960.


Called "a holiday tradition" by NPR, SantaLand Diaries proved to be Sedaris' first major break, as it generated the most requests of any story on "Morning Edition," with the sole exception of the death of Baseball Hall of Fame announcer Red Barber. Tony Award winner Joe Mantello adapted the holiday reading into a stage production in 1996, and it debuted at the Atlantic Theater Company in New York City under the title The Santaland Diaries with the then-recent Theatre World Award winner Timothy Olyphant originating the sadistic department store elf. Hailed as "worth more than a photo album full of Santas" by New York's Newsday and "a delightfully thorny account of working as a Yuletide elf" by The New York Times, this one-man show has become a seasonal favorite with American Theatre Magazinenaming it one of the most popular holiday shows after Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris has become one of America's pre-eminent humor writers. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote "Sedaris belongs on any list of people writing in English at the moment who are revising our ideas about what's funny." He 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 Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, each of which became an immediate bestseller. In May his newest book Theft by Finding was released, featuring some of his favorite diary entries spanning 25 years. The audio version of Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls was a Grammy Awards Nominee for Best Spoken Word Album. Sedaris pieces appear regularly in The New Yorker and have twice been included in "The Best American Essays." There are more than ten million copies of his books in print and they have been translated into 25 languages.


Joe Mantello who adapted The Santaland Diaries, is an award-winning director and actor. His Tony wins include Best Direction of a Play for Take Me Out, and Best Direction of a Musical for Assassins. He made his Broadway acting debut as Louis Ironson in Angels in America. Since then he has gone on to direct many Great White Way favorites including Love! Valour! Compassion!, Take Me Out, the 2005 revival of The Odd Couple, 9 to 5, An Act of God, and more. He returned to the stage in 2011 as Ned Weeks in The Normal Heart, which earned him a Tony nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Play, was recently seen in Broadway play The Glass Menagerie alongside Sally Field, and will direct Edward Albee's original play Three Tall Women starring Glenda Jackson, Laurie Metcalf, and Alison Pill in 2018. He received the Julie Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing from the Drama League, and many other wins and nominations from Drama Desk, Actors' Equity, the Obie Awards, and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.


Bay Area native Max Tachis will make his TheatreWorks debut as Crumpet the Elf/David. He was most recently seen in Los Altos Stage Company's The Crucible where he was hailed as "riveting" by The Mercury News for his performance as John Proctor. Tachis has appeared in productions with the Palo Alto Players, City Lights Theater Company, Pear Theatre, and more. Also a playwright, his work Perishable, Keep Refrigerated premiered in 2014 with the Renegade Theatre Experiment.
Jeffrey Lo is a Filipino-American playwright and director based in the Bay Area. The Santaland Diaries marks Lo's TheatreWorks directorial debut, and the third collaboration with Tachis. He is the recipient of the Leigh Weimers Emerging Artist Award, the Emerging Artist Laureate by Arts Council Silicon Valley and Theatre Bay Area Director's TITAN Award. His plays have been produced and workshopped at The BindleStiff Studio, City Lights Theater Company, and The Custom Made Theatre Company. His play Writing Fragments Home was a finalist for the Bay Area Playwright's Conference and a semi-finalist for the O'Neill Playwright's Conference. Recent directing credits include a record-setting The Crucible, as well as Yellow Face, and Dead Man's Cell Phone at Los Altos Stage Company, Uncle Vanya at the Pear Theatre (SFBATCC nomination for Best Production), Eurydice at Palo Alto Players (TBA Awards finalist for Best Direction), Some Girl(s) at Dragon Productions and The Drunken City at Renegade Theatre Experiment. Lo has also worked with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, San Jose Repertory Theatre, and is a company member of Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company and San Francisco Playground. He is the Casting Associate and Company Manager at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, a graduate of the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute and a proud alumnus of the UC Irvine Drama Department.


With some 100,000 patrons per year, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has captured a national reputation for artistic innovation and integrity, often presenting Bay Area theatregoers with their first look at acclaimed musicals, comedies, and dramas, directed by award-winning local and guest directors, and performed by professional actors cast locally and from across the country.

Photo credit: Kevin Berne






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