Chestnuts roasting on the open fire." Those beloved lyrics by Mel Torme take on a whole new meaning this month in Chicago, where Zeitgeist Theatre (a k a the improvisational group Flanagan's Wake) is performing Roasting Chestnuts, a takeoff on holiday shows that's hosted by the fictitious Gina Oswald of Oswald Quintuplets fame (or is it infamy?).
The show features the Von Zeitgeist Family Singers (a spoof of you-know-who), a "holiday-challenged" Santa Claus and a sketch called "It's a Wonderful Lifestyle," in which George is shown how the world would be different if he hadn't been born gay.
It would seem that a show like this needs no explanation, but in true Flanagan's Wake form Playbill On-Line received one anyway -- from Patricia Musker, a founder of the Zeitgeist Theatre: "We had so much pent-up happiness for the holiday season that we had to share it."
Roasting Chestnuts is being performed Sundays at 7 PM throughout December at the Royal George Theatre, 1633 N. Halstead. For more information on Roasting Chestnuts -- or on the open-ended run of "Flanagan's Wake" improv sessions on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons -- call (773) 202-1005.
-- By Rebecca Paller