Judy's Scary Little Christmas | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Judy's Scary Little Christmas 

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This peculiar musical by James Webber, David Church, and Joe Patrick Ward creates a kind of celebrity purgatory where Judy Garland hosts a Christmas special featuring other dead people, including Liberace, Joan Crawford, Lillian Hellman, and Richard Nixon. We're not told this little variety hour is being transmitted from the great beyond, however, until after intermission, when the grim reaper arrives and everything suddenly gets very solemn. The transition from affectionate parody to pop-culture metaphysics is so jarring that even the performers in this Chicago premiere by Hell in a Handbag Productions seem uncomfortable. But they do give it the old college try--especially Jennifer Connelly, whose Judy is equal parts dizzy and divine. Through 1/7: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 2 PM, Strawdog Theatre Company, 3829 N. Broadway, 312-409-4357, $15-$20, $25 Sat 12/31.

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