Atlanta stages bursting with holiday fare this season

The days when Christmas entertainment at theater companies meant “A Christmas Carol” and little else are long over. Almost every local venue has a show running during the holidays, including some goodies for LG...
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Local theaters offer diverse takes on the holidays

Santaland Diaries

Holiday time at local theaters traditionally brings familiar offerings as well as some newer fare, much of it appealing to LGBT patrons.

Of course, “The Santaland Diaries” will be back for its 14th outing at Horizon Theatre. The comedy has proven to be the grandest gay-themed offering of the entire season. Based on gay writer David Sedaris’ own experience, as told in his “Holidays On Ice,” it stars Harold M. Leaver as the snarky title character, forced to work as a department store elf during the holidays one year when money is tight.

Leaver’s co-stars are Enoch King, now in his sixth year, and LaLa Cochran. Leaver still shakes his head at how successful “Santaland” has become. What started as a staged reading now often sells out its entire run.

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‘Mr. Universe’ returns to Atlanta

Mr. Universe at 7 Stages playhouse

A half-naked male body builder found on the streets may seem too good to be true for some, but the character changes the lives of a number of people in Jim Grimsley’s “Mr. Universe,” being produced by 7 Stages.

According to playwright Grimsley, who is gay, it’s the third time his play has been staged in Atlanta —first in 1987 and then in the mid ‘90s, both times at 7 Stages. “Mr. Universe” is directed by 7 Stages’ Del Hamilton, who played the character of Vick in the original production, and it stars openly gay actors Don Finney and Doyle Reynolds.

In the French Quarter of New Orleans, circa the late ‘70s, two drag queens —Judy (Finney) and Vick (Reynolds) — find an almost naked young man (Brian Kirchner), who is mute and homeless, and take him in. The city is in the midst of a murder mystery, and the identity of Mr. Universe remains vague.