Looking at Christmas, a Comedy By "SpongeBob SquarePants" Writer, Begins at NYC's Flea

News   Looking at Christmas, a Comedy By "SpongeBob SquarePants" Writer, Begins at NYC's Flea
The Flea Theater's world premiere of Looking at Christmas, "SpongeBob SquarePants" writer Steven Banks' romantic comedy set in front of New York City's famed holiday window displays, featuring Flea's resident company, The Bats, begins Nov. 20 toward a Dec. 1 opening.

Artistic director Jim Simpson directs the production at the downtown Off-Off-Broadway theatre where A.R. Gurney and others have found an artistic home far from the maddening commercial crowd. Performances continue to Dec. 30.

This offbeat holiday comedy from the head writer of TV's animated series "SpongeBob SquarePants" is recommended for audiences ages 15 and over.

The play "is set on Christmas Eve in New York City," according to Flea notes. "An unemployed writer and a struggling actress meet while looking at the famous holiday windows along Fifth Avenue. What they don't realize is that the windows are looking back — from Tiny Tim toting a ray gun to an amorous elf with an eye for Mrs. Claus. Looking at Christmas is a sweet, smart, slightly twisted romantic comedy."

The production features Brett Aresco, Crystal Arnette, Allison Buck, Holly Chou, Jack Corcoran, Christian Adam Jacobs, Raúl Sigmund Julia, Betsy Lippitt, Turna Mete, Michael Micalizzi, Briana Pozner and John Russo. The design team includes Kate Sinclair Foster (set), Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew (lighting), Gabriel Berry (costumes) and Jill BC DuBoff (sound).

Emmy Award-nominated writer Banks recently co-created a full evening piece, Shadowland, for the renowned dance company Pilobolus. He wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed one-person play Home Entertainment Center on Showtime and performed it in Los Angeles and San Francisco, winning L.A. Weekly, Dramalogue and Bay Area Critic's Circle Awards.  Banks also wrote and starred in the national PBS series "The Steven Banks Show" and released a CD, "Songs from The Steven Banks Show." His first novel, "King of the Creeps," was published by Random House/Knopf. His play, Love Tapes, co-written with Penn Jillette, was nominated for three L.A. Weekly Theater Awards, winning Best Direction of a Comedy. He wrote the book and additional lyrics for the musical The Sponge Who Could Fly, currently touring internationally. He is a drop out of Los Angeles City College and a graduate of the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Clown College. Looking at Christmas plays Tuesday-Sunday at 7 PM, Saturday and Sunday at 3 PM and Friday at 10 PM with added shows Mondays, Nov. 22 & Dec 27 at 7 PM. (Note: no performances Nov. 24-26 or Dec. 23-26.)

The Flea is located at 41 White Street between Church and Broadway, three blocks south of Canal.

All Tuesday performances are Pay-What-You-Can, subject to availability at the door. Tickets are $25 and are available by calling (212) 352-3101 or online at www.theflea.org.


The Flea Theater, under artistic director Jim Simpson and producing director Carol Ostrow, is one of New York's leading Off-Off-Broadway companies. Winner of a Special Drama Desk Award for outstanding achievement, Obie Awards and an Otto for political theatre, The Flea has presented nearly 100 plays and numerous dance and live music performances since its inception in 1996. Past productions include the premieres of Anne Nelson's The Guys; six plays by A.R. Gurney (Office Hours, Post Mortem, O Jerusalem, Screenplay, Mrs. Farnsworth and A Light Lunch); Mac Wellman's Cellophane and Two September; Roger Rosenblatt's Ashley Montana Goes Ashore... and The Oldsmobiles; Elizabeth Swados' JABU and Kaspar Hauser; Adam Rapp's Bingo with the Indians; Will Eno's Oh, The Humanity and other exclamations; Dawn by Thomas Bradshaw; The Great Recession; Jonathan Reynolds' Girls in Trouble; and Bathsheba Doran's Parents' Evening.

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