It's the most wonderful time of the year.
Headed to New York with dreams of writing for One Life to Live, David Sedaris never expected that three weeks later he would be dressed as an elf, guiding snotty kids and overzealous parents through an hourlong wait to see Santa. But instead of letting the experience (rightfully) crush his soul, Sedaris turned it into The Santaland Diaries. He scrutinizes the department-store Christmas world from the vantage point of Magic Island Elf and Water Cooler Elf, right down to the reasons why his female counterparts are required to wear panties. As the perfect antidote to this saccharine side of the holiday season, Late Night Theatre (1531 McGee) presents its annual adaptation; the one-man play, back in its fifth year, opens at 8 p.m. Friday.
Ron Megee reprises his role as the chain-smoking, eye-rolling Sedaris, who fires back to tattle-threatening customers, "Go ahead, be my guest. I'm wearing a velvet green costume; it doesn't get any worse than this." Tickets are $18; call 816-235-6222 to purchase.-- Christopher Sebela
Gold, Frankincense and Debt
The plot of O. Henry's classic Christmas story about a monumental gift-giving mishap gets plagiarized by so many sitcom writers every year that the tale's surprise ending is practically written into the universal subconscious -- yet we still sometimes forget to save the damned receipt. The TBA Players' musical treatment of the fable, The Gifts of the Magi, which opens at 8 p.m. Friday at Just Off Broadway (3051 Central, 816-784-5020) and runs through December 11, expands Henry's deliciously sarcastic yarn by adding comical characters from the 1905 New York landscape surrounding the original characters, an impoverished young couple disastrously determined to make each other happy on Christmas Eve. -- Jason Harper
We wouldn't expect a Protestant church and a seasoned blues musician to team up to help out a group of Jewish Reconstructionists -- but we would be wrong. From 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church (11100 College Boulevard in Overland Park), Michael "Hawkeye" Herman, who has won awards for his blues-education efforts, performs in a benefit for Kansas City's Or Hadash congregation. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12.50 at the door; call 913-515-7809 for more information. -- Fischer