Trimming the Tree With Joan: Christmas With the Crawfords Returns Nov. 22-Dec. 28

News   Trimming the Tree With Joan: Christmas With the Crawfords Returns Nov. 22-Dec. 28 No more wire hangers....for those ornaments!

No more wire hangers....for those ornaments!

Christmas With the Crawfords, as in monster Mommie Dearest Joan, returns Off-Broadway with a run Nov. 22-Dec. 28 at the Producers Club II. The campy comedy, which takes place during a holiday broadcast led by actress Crawford and gossip goddess Hedda Hopper in the former's home, features drag and performance art legend Joey Arias.

Richard Winchester, Mark Sargent and Wayne Buidens created the script, which ran in 2000 at New York City's Grove Street Playhouse and in 2001 at the Chelsea 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 during 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.

Arias ("Wigstock") is Crawford for the third year in a row. Summing up the show, he said (November, 2001), "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 Kate Botello, Trauma Flintstone, Brant Kaiwi, Joe Levesque, Chris March, Sade Pendarvis, Sargent and Jason Scott. Jason Hart is on the piano.

Tickets are $40-$45. The Producers Club II is located at 358 West 44th Street. For reservations, call (212) 315-4743. Christmas With the Crawfords is on the web at http://www.actsf.com.

— By Christine Ehren