Has the commercialization of Christmas gotten you down? Are you one of the 99% who does not have unlimited resources to spend on expensive presents and parties? Are you concerned about the rampant unemployment and unfair labor practices in our country and around the world? Have greedy and mean-spirited people put a damper on your enjoyment of the simple pleasures of life and your holiday cheer?
BCKSEET’s original musical ELFUEGO, by founding Artistic Director Kate Brennan, is the perfect politically-conscious antidote for your winter doldrums, holiday shopping panic, and distaste for the bad attitude of omnipresent Grinches. It will make you laugh, while restoring your faith in the true, nondenominational spirit of Christmas—kindness, cooperation, consideration, and good will towards all. It is a time-honored message worth repeating now more than ever, in our disheartening era of world conflict and financial crisis.
Sarah Doherty stars as the resourceful elf Scab, who kidnaps an odd assortment of four unemployed jobseekers after a fire at Santa’s workshop in the North Pole killed many elves and caused the survivors to go on strike for better working conditions. Doherty’s diminutive stature, impish face, and spritely deportment will make you believe in the existence of Santa’s helpers (who, as Brennan’s script reveals, speak only in delightful rhyming verse), as she mischievously enacts Scab’s plot to give the abducted humans what their hearts desire most, but have forgotten in the midst of hard economic times.
Scab’s four detainees represent a microcosm of America—a white male veteran soldier Frank (Jeremy Gable), an African-American graduate student Quran (Craig Bazan), a pregnant nun Euki (Maria Konstantinidis), and a Jewish business executive Hope (Cindy Spitko)—who, despite their different career paths, ethnic backgrounds, and beliefs, all share the same state of joblessness, and in the end, work together for the common good, to save Christmas, Scab, each other, and themselves.
The ensemble of five brings not only diversity, personality, energy, and charisma to their characters (Spitko’s Hope delivers some of the play’s funniest lines with hilarious anger and “elf’ing” sarcasm), but also a strong voice to the show’s original music, backed by an impressive live orchestra conducted by Patricia Brown. Among the most humorous songs is “Fed Up to Here,” which presents a litany of current gripes to which everyone can relate, while the heartwarming finale highlights the vocal and social harmony of the cast and the characters.
Managing Director Greg DeCandia’s students from Boys’ Latin Charter School of Philadelphia make their debut on the professional stage, delivering in elfin rhyme and costume the most clever curtain speech ever. BCKSEET also partnered with the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, which serves the unemployed and underemployed in our city; a percentage of the revenue from ELFUEGO’s ticket sales will be donated to PUP’s programs, in support of those “trapped in the back seat.”
ELFUEGO: A NEW HOLIDAY MUSICAL
By Kate Brennan
Directed by Brandon King McShaffrey
December 12-29, 2012
Skybox at the Adrienne
2030 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103