It's going to be Christmas With the Crawfords all over again. The campy comedy, which takes place during a holiday broadcast led by actress Joan Crawford and gossip goddess Hedda Hopper in the former's home, opens at the Chelsea Playhouse Nov. 21. Richard Winchester, Mark Sargent and Wayne Buidens created the script, which ran in 2000 at New York City's Grove Street Playhouse. A Chorus Line's Donna Drake directs and choreographs with musical direction by Joe Collins.
As Hopper chats up Crawford, star of such films as "Above Suspicion," "The Women" and "Grand Hotel," a parade of stars make their way through the Brentwood estate on their way to Gary Cooper's Christmas Party next door. Celebs singing and dancing their way through the Crawford broadcast include Judy Garland, Ann Miller, Ethel Merman, Carmen Miranda and the Andrews Sisters. Even Crawford's children, Christina and Christopher (you may remember them from the book and film "Mommie Dearest," a testament to the film star's child-rearing skills) get in on the act.
Legendary performance artist and drag performer Joey Arias ("Wigstock") stars as Crawford for the second year in a row. Summing up the show, he says, "It's escapist. The songs are beautiful and some are funny...I call it a 21st Century 'Christmas Carol.' Joan Crawford and family are the nuclear family for a new generation."
Also in the cast are Connie Champagne, Trauma Flintstone, Max Grenyo, Chris March, Matthew Martin, Mark Sargent and Jason Scott.
Christmas With the Crawfords runs through Jan. 5. Tickets are $40-$45. The Chelsea Playhouse is located at 125 West 22nd Street. For reservations, call (212) 439-5135. Christmas With the Crawfords is on the web at http://www.actsf.com.
— By Christine Ehren