Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for December 2010
BY Brandon Voss
December 16 2010 6:00 PM ET
Like White Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas in years past, it’s beginning to look a lot like Elf, which is hung with care at the Hirschfeld Theatre through January 2, will be regifted on Broadway for many seasons to come. This fitfully catchy musical is full of silly gags that only a child could appreciate — George Wendt’s Santa just loves his new iPad! — but this red-and-green groaner could be much worse. At least its source material, the 2003 Will Ferrell flick about an oversize North Pole elf looking for his real dad in New York, has a positive message for kids who may feel different. Better still, out director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw keeps it light and sparkly, and star Sebastian Arcelus must be commended for making the role of Buddy his own. Finally, look for out ensemble member Lee Wilkins as the Greenway Press office’s token gay!
Directed by Karen Kohlhaas, Atlantic Theater Company’s double bill of Harold Pinter’s The Collection and A Kind of Alaska, which runs through December 19 at Classic Stage Company, is a sparkling tribute to the late Nobel Prize-winning playwright. In Alaska, written in 1982, Lisa Emery is exquisite as a woman who awakens after 30 years in a comatose state. But I couldn’t get enough of Collection, a witty 1961 gem that drips with icy intrigue, tension, and sensuality. Darren Pettie, who plays gay in Mad Men, smugly stars as James, who accuses dandy Bill — Broken Hearts Club’s outstanding out actor Matt McGrath — of sleeping with his wife at a fashion convention. Bill flirtatiously plays along, though it’s pretty clear he’s an aging kept boy to Larry Bryggman’s irritable Harry. To use one of Bill’s words, their banter is simply scrumptious.