This was going to be the first year in a while that the Alley Theatre did not present its one-man show The Santaland Diaries starring company member Todd Waite. That was right up until ticket buyers started calling in, complaining that they couldn’t find the David Sedaris play about a Macy’s Department Store elf on the schedule and wanted to see it. The Alley did a quick about-face. “It really made me feel warm and fuzzy inside,” Waite says, grinning. “A large portion of the audience are people returning. Which is funny, ’cause sometimes you hear people get the joke just before it should actually be gotten.”
Known for his two standout and vastly different iconic roles — Crumpet the Elf and Sherlock Holmes — Waite says he doesn’t change up the script except for a few ad-libs (be prepared to be shelled if your cell phone goes off), but he does review video before each season to see where he can fine-tune his line delivery or movements.
His elf costume — a highlight of the show when it is revealed — gets remade each year. “Yes, they rebuild it, but then they break it down to look old.” Waite says the play, about a department store elf who rails against mean Santas and obsessed parents alike, works so well because “it has all those details that strong writing has. It has specificity of observation. It has humor that drops into moments of sincerity just at the right time. And above all, though it watches humanity with a critical eye, it is full of love, especially of children.”
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7:30 p.m, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 6 and 9 p.m. Fridays, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Through December 31. 615 Texas. For information, call 713-220-5700 or visit alleytheatre.org. $26 to $50.
Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, 6 & 9 p.m.; Saturdays, 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Dec. 1. Continues through Dec. 31, 2013