Let’s face it, Naked Holidays is nothing more than an excuse to have a fun naked time in the theatre. An annual tradition (this is its 6th year), the show is a series of bawdy sketches and songs that celebrate The Holidays (but mostly Christmas). Written by Russell Dobular, Leal Vona, Stacy Lane and The Naked Holidays Cast, the evening ranges from highbrow to low, from gleefully gratuitous to nearly classy. From parodies of movies (Weredeer (a parody of werewolf films) and The Big Toy Chest (Santa’s Elves as a campy Women in Prison exploitation flick)) to musical numbers (“I’ve Got Your Love to Keep Me Warm” takes on a new meaning when the singer is only wearing a scarf), it is a varied and fascinating evening, with something for everyone (except prudes, who probably weren’t going to attend anyway). There’s a bit of politics, taking potshots at “The War on Christmas” and the perception that “naked men are funny, naked women are not”. There are puppets, classical music, and a drag queen. The penultimate piece is the traditional Naked Holidays bit “The Naked People Play”, a meta piece about two characters in a play who can’t get on with their love lives because of the distracting naked people running around their apartment.
The cast is wonderfully game and very funny. The show stars Jarrod Bates, Matthew Glowgowski, Jesse Gabriel, Chris Johnston, Leal Vona, Dave Chura, Chris Lazarro, Kelly Riley, Erika Lee, Alesandra Nahodil, Meridith Szalay, Lacy Allen, Sarah Schoofs, Samantha Cooper, Sarah Pencheff, Lee’at Bruhl, Serena Miller, Alinca Hamilton, Kara Addington, Rebecca Perlman, Robert Gonyo. Though the cast is more heavily weighted with girls, fans of men shouldn't worry: along with the breasts and vagina, there will be penis.
The costumes by Sarah Pencheff are truly delightful and technically impressive, (in the scenes when they’re worn) especially with “Beautiful”, a hilarious dance shout-out to Rankin-Bass Christmas Specials. Serena Miller is the musical director/arranger, wrote the original music, and plays cello for the live band (Miller, Matthew Glogowski, Rebecca Perlman, Robert A.K. Gonyo and Kelly Riley). Tiffany Herrioett’s choreography is great, featuring ballet, tap, and more.
Not all is great, some of the more obviously improvised moments are just confusing and don’t really end, and the very funny hosting job by Jesse Gabriel and Kara Addington occasionally telegraphs the joke of the upcoming skit a bit too obviously. The price seems a bit steep for what is a non-Equity off-off-Broadway show, as well (though the performance I attended was sold out). But on the whole, it is a giddy holiday delight.
Naked Holidays NYC 2012
Roy Arias Stage IV
300 West 43rd Street (at 8th Avenue)
Wednesday - Saturday @ 8pm, Sunday @ 7pm thru December 30
No Performance: Sunday - December 23 @ 7pm, Wednesday - December 26 @ 8pm
Tickets $59 at Telecharge.