By Kathleen Vanesian
By Amy Silverman
By Robrt L. Pela
By Jim Louvau
By Kathleen Vanesian
By Benjamin Leatherman
By New Times
By Becky Bartkowski
Okay. Let's say that Jesus Christ is real, and that he was born to a virgin mother and is the son of an all-powerful but invisible being who offered up his only offspring in payment for our sins. Does this guy -- this savior, this product of an immaculate conception -- really want us to celebrate his birthday by covering plastic trees with popcorn and singing songs that include phrases like "Pa-rumpa-pum-pum"?
I think not. And I really doubt that Christ would want us honoring his birth by attending parades or sitting on a fat man's lap, either. He certainly wouldn't like us going to secular entertainments when we could be at synagogue (Christ was a Jew, remember?), so buying tickets to Fountain Hills Youth Theater's production of Pau$e for the Clau$e seems out of the question -- also because it has dollar signs in the title and because it casts kids as adults and, well, need I say more? And no merciful deity would ask us to eat from a buffet, so you can cross Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre's Sounds of Christmas and Copperstate Dinner Theater's A Broadway Christmas off your list. I certainly did. Ditto Theatre Eclectic's A Dickens of a Feast, because it's an interactive musical, and all forms of audience participation were invented by Lucifer himself.
Speaking of Satan, I'm sure he wants us to see Childsplay's production of The Velveteen Rabbit, because it's about a child's toy that comes to life and because the leads are both cross-dressers; I just know there's sinister subtext in there somewhere. And anyone who's ever seen a production at Greasepaint Scottsdale Youtheatre will know what I mean when I say that you don't have to look hard to find the devil in its production of Babes in Toyland. Satan, get thee behind me -- and take those kid actors with you!
I seem to recall Christ preaching moderation (or was that abstinence?), so he'd probably want us to choose only one of the five versions of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol playing this month. I opted for the Actors Theatre production, mostly because it was the one closest to my home, and who can afford gas and Christmas presents these days? I'm certain Christ would frown on my attendance at iTheatre Collaborative's Christmas Cabaret, because they serve cocktails before curtain, but I'm an atheist, so what the hell -- I went. The scotch was neat, and the singing wasn't half bad, either.
I can't say the same for Christian Dance Company's Spirit of Christmas pageant, but only because I didn't see it; I refuse to attend any show that features "The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers," because dancing clothespins freak me out. If the Rapture were to occur tomorrow, I can't imagine that Jesus would be sending us to watch 100 women in unitards doing time steps, even if they're doing it in the name of Christianity. I'm counting my Christmas blessings, though: At least the Rockettes are skipping Phoenix this year, which is enough to make me believe in Jesus Christ and Santa Claus.