It's beginning to look a lot like a dysfunctional Christmas. In other words, it's time for the Cast Theatre's production of Justin Tanner's Happytime Xmas, first produced in 1989 and fast becoming a Yuletide perennial in the hills of Hollywood.
Described by one critic as an "acid-etched holiday portrait," Happytime Xmas has at its center an overworked waitress aptly named Hazie (played by Ellen Ratner) who dreams of being a winner on "Wheel of Fortune" and buying herself a whole new life.
She's surrounded by an extended family of mooches and also has a highly supportive best friend -- who this year is played by Laurie Metcalf of Steppenwolf Theatre and "Roseanne" fame (she's also scheduled for a guest appearance on TV's "Dharma and Greg" on Dec. 10).
Also in the cast of Happytime Xmas are Andy Daley as Hazie's beer-guzzling stepson and Lisa Beezley as his pregnant wife; Laurel Green as Hazie's born-again, bulimic daughter Dottie; Sandra Kinder as Hazie's unkind mother; and Fred Willard as Hazie's drunken ex.
Happytime Xmas is being performed Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Dec. 21 at the Cast Theatre, 804 N. El Centro Ave in Hollywood. For information, call (213) 462-0265. -- By Rebecca Paller