Coney Island Christmas

Donald Margulies' sweetly goofy Coney Island Christmas, based on Grace Paley's short story The Loudest Voice, is an unmitigated delight. The tale begins in Los Angeles, where young Clara (Grace Kaufman) is sick in bed. Her grandmother, Shirley Abramowitz (feisty Angela Paton), takes her on a visit to Shirley's childhood in Coney Island, circa 1935. Young Shirley (Isabelle Acres) lives with her traditional Jewish parents (Arye Gross and Annabelle Gurwitch). When English teacher Mr. Hilton (John Sloan) casts Shirley as Jesus in the grade-school Christmas play, she's overjoyed — but her mother is appalled and forbids her to appear. With her father's collusion, Shirley defies Mama's orders, leading to the funniest Nativity play ever. Margulies deftly combines all the familiar icons of Thanksgiving and Christmas, from the Pilgrims and Squanto (Julian Evens) to Mary (Kira Sternbach) and Joseph (Andrew Walke), shepherds, angels, wise men, Santa, Miss Liberty, Mr. Scrooge, the Ghost of Christmas Present, Tiny Tim and Jesus himself on a carousel horse. Director Bart DeLorenzo gives the piece a lovingly hilarious production, full of holiday memories. Ann Closs-Farley's witty costumes, including a glorious Thanksgiving turkey, are a triumph, and Takeshi Kata's sets cleverly evoke 1930s Brooklyn.
Tue., Nov. 20, 8 p.m.; Wed., Nov. 21, 8 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 23, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 24, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 25, 2 & 7 p.m.; Tue., Nov. 27, 8 p.m.; Thu., Nov. 29, 8 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 30, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 1, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 2, 2 & 7 p.m.; Tue., Dec. 4, 8 p.m.; Wed., Dec. 5, 8 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 6, 8 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 7, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 8, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 2 & 7 p.m.; Tue., Dec. 11, 8 p.m.; Wed., Dec. 12, 8 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 13, 8 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 14, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 15, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16, 2 & 7 p.m.; Tue., Dec. 18, 8 p.m.; Wed., Dec. 19, 8 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 20, 8 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 21, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 22, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 23, 2 & 7 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 24, 8 p.m.; Wed., Dec. 26, 8 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 27, 8 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 28, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 29, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 30, 2 & 7 p.m., 2012

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Geffen Playhouse

10886 Le Conte Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90024

310-208-5454

www.geffenplayhouse.com


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