Winter Park / Live Theatre: ‘Ha Ha Holidays’ a collection of Saturday Night Live skits
November 26, 2008
This year the local theatre scene is making sure the holiday season has more ha-ha-has with its ho-ho-hos.
The typical American family has quirks, and appropriately, the holidays should too. Rather than going for the traditionally sentimental, many are turning toward the humorous, from subtle to slap-your-knee slapstick.
The trend is just one of many that reflects a change in how people celebrate the season. Movies like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street” are being outshined by comedies like “Home for the Holidays,” “A Christmas Story” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”
The light-hearted look at the season is also noticeable on stage and is the focus of the Grand Theatre Company’s play opening this week. The new winter show, “Ha Ha Holidays” will feature 20 scenes and is a collection of Saturday Night Live skits from the holiday season.
Skits, monologues and favorite songs will poke fun at many of the traditions such as the buying of the Christmas tree, sending out holiday cards, a politically correct tree lighting, a motivational Santa, a closet elf, and buying things one can’t afford. Although the bulk of the material is related to the Christmas holiday, there are several scenes that are not. “‘Ha Ha’ has something for everyone,” said Kimberlee Nanda, company co-owner with her husband Tanny.
She said comedies around the holiday season do really well because people want to laugh and spend time with their families and friends. Much of the play, Kimberlee said, is about not only the holiday season, but the way some people interact with strangers, friends, and family.
She and Tanny have been SNL fans for a long time, saying Saturday nights watching the show was a tradition in their families growing up. They hope they’ll have theatre patrons laughing so hard “that by the end of the night your stomach is sore.”
Cast includes Aaron Rustebakke, Randel Davis, and the Nanda couple. Kimberlee said they can hardly make it through practicing the scenes themselves without laughing, “so I know that the audience will be rolling.”
The play is rated PG, with some material not suitable for children. Two of the seven performances are already sold out (opening and closing night) and reservations are recommended. Season tickets are available at $60 for four shows and make great gifts. The company’s next holiday play, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” opens Dec. 19.