Just a few words of enthusiasm for Mink Stole’s terrific holiday show, now playing at the Laurie Beechman Theatre through December 14. OMG! It’s Christmas is a funny, frequently dark cabaret set with Mink at the mic, backed by Her Wonderful Band (her words, not mine, although in this case I won’t contradict her assessment): Glenn Workman on piano and accordion, Dylan Kaminkow on bass, and Skizz Cyzyk on drums. (The latter actually gets a prominent work-out on her rendition of “Le Petit Tambour” a French version of “The Little Drummer Boy”.
Light and dark intermingle like rum and egg nog in the show; an appropriate tone is set by her opening number, Tom Lehrer’s cynical “A Christmas Carol”. She then slides into Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmastime is Here” (from A Charlie Brown Christmas) like a comforting pair of slippers. Other stuff in the show: a version of “O, Christmas Tree” with adorable original lyrics, Shemekia Copeland’s sexy “Stay A Little Longer, Santa”, Willie Nelson’s tear-jerker “Pretty Paper” and the perennial “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” (including an intro to the song I never knew existed). And in the name of inclusiveness, the Jewish singalong “Tzena, Tzena, Tzena”.
The cruelest, most perverse thing she did during the show was force the entire audience to sing “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. (I shudder like Burl Ives’ snowman in “Rudolph” to even remember the experience). As the fifth of ten children, such group activities must be second nature to her. While it does contain a couple of hilarious stories about her old John Waters crew, the show really feels more about Mink’s childhood and her family. She tackles her task with a lot of honesty and sincerity and generosity, not steering from a family tragedy that’s colored Christmas for her, but not allowing herself to get maudlin either, wrestling that underlying sadness into a self-mocking, ironic place which is of course the defining character trait of the Dreamlander.
Anyway, the Laurie Beechman is decked out in wreaths and garlands and pretty white lights and at present it is also showcasing a Christmas Star. Go here for more info and tickets.