Santa Flaws . . . A Satire-Stuffed Revue | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Santa Flaws . . . A Satire-Stuffed Revue 

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Santa Flaws...A Satire-Stuffed Revue, New Tuners Theatre.

"A Chorus Carol," the second of 19 mostly musical selections that comprise New Tuners' antiholiday revue, is Jan Powell and Ken Stone's parody of A Chorus Line, with an audition for the role of Tiny Tim. ("Differently challenged Tim!" snaps one candidate. "I don't ride no shoulders!") The hopefuls share their biographies and end in a counterpoint plea to be chosen before puberty renders them ineligible for the coveted part.

But this cleverly crafted piece is the peak of Santa Flaws...A Satire-Stuffed Revue. Not that the remaining numbers don't include some catchy melodies (Berton Averre and Brian Stepanek's downbeat "Christmas Stalker"), on-target lyrics (Stepanek's hilarious "Tree," which spoofs avant-garde verse plays), sharp arrangements (James Neal Koudelka's homage to label mania, "Styles 'R Us"), and splendiferous interpretations (Norbert Gunther Kramer's nebulous "Melting Away," which Holly Stauder transforms into a Whitney Houston-style shouter). But none is as integrated and inspired as "A Chorus Carol"--and too many meander into hackneyed juvenilia.

The protean five-member ensemble sell this uneven material with all their might, helped by Scott Sandoe's ingenious choreography (in particular, the one-foot dance for a Tiny Tim wannabe) and the riffing of pianist Claire Miller. It's a refuge for all those cynics who are in danger of being overcome by the cheer that's now overrunning the city.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Matthew Kaplan.

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