Christmas Eve at Earlene’s Diner – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Michelle Gotay is a honey of a hilarious hoot as Earlene  Babcock, the popular proprietor of Earlene’s Diner in Potsville. She is trying to cope with the imminent loss of her special place, the family favorite diner and cabaret motel, due to the evil machinations of the town’s mayor whose son has opened a competing eatery, the Crispy Biscuit.

So for a lot of fun and fruitcake, songs and Santa, gaiety and gifts, bells and blizzards, come to Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury for the new and original tale written and directed by Semina DeLaurentis “Christmas Eve at Earlene’s Diner The Best Dang Christmas Variety Show Ever” presented and produced by the enthusiastic Seven Angels Theatre Stage Seven Community December 7-19.

A snow storm has wreaked havoc on plans for the 50th year of a traditional St. Francis Church holiday show and half the cast is stuck at Earlene’s. The show’s producers Leah Juliett and Zani Scott convince Earlene to be the mistress of ceremonies and oversee the acts that will be televised. With wit and merriment, she becomes the impromptu hostess of the holiday feast of songs: like the nuns Sharon Amundsen and Jeannine Gallmeyer’s rendition of “”What Would Elvis Do?,” Nicole Thomas’ “Once Upon a December,” Zani Scott’s “Mary, Did You Know?,” Leah Juliett’s “Grown Up Christmas List,” Cheyenne Walent’s “Underneath the Tree,” ColtonZawisza’s “Imagine” and Tom Chute’s “Keeping Christmas,” among many others.

In addition, there are stories about the traditions of Christmas around the world, a token Chanukah song “Shalom Chavarim,” John Fabiani’s recipe for fruitcake with rum and rum cake with fruit as well as a whooper of a ditty by Michelle Gotay “12 Steps of Christmas” that brought down the house.

With a cast of three dozen, from young’uns to seniors, with almost as many songs, Earlene’s Diner rocked.  And, don’t forget a few memorable moments with Santa Claus, a spry Timothy Cleary, who got his exercise being chased by Dr. Fred, a determined  Joe Stofko.

For tickets ($37, children under 18 $18, 4 pack $99 with code FOUR), call Seven Angels, 1 Plank Road, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at www.SevenAngelsTheatre,org  Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., with extra shows Tuesday and Wednesday December 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Community and sing along with all your favorites with the merry gang.