Humorist David Sedaris got his big break on NPR reading his essay "The Santaland Diaries," which recounted his time working as Crumpet the Elf in the trenches of the Manhattan Macy's Santaland. The "Diaries" lie somewhere between the observational, self-effacing humor of Jean Shepherd's A Christmas Story and the scathing, cynical wit of Terry Zwigoff's Bad Santa. Sedaris doesn't spare the rod in his observations of families lined up to visit Santa, taking whacks at overbearing parents, spoiled children and the forced merriment of the holiday. But the "Diaries" can also be bizarrely touching, such as the moment when a child asks Santa for his dead father back along with a complete set of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Stray Dog Theatre presents Joe Mantello's one-man adaptation of Sedaris' career-making essay, The Santaland Diaries, at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (December 6 through 22) at the Tower Grove Abbey (2336 Tennessee Avenue), with a single 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, December 22. Tickets are $15 to $18. For more information call 314-865-1995 or visit www.straydogtheatre.com.
Thursdays-Saturdays. Starts: Dec. 6. Continues through Dec. 22, 2007