"If the pressure of Christmas, or Channukah or Kwanzaa or Solstice or whatever is getting to you, help is available. Sometimes all you need to ease things up a bit is a good laugh. Or a happy song. Youll find lots of both in this happy creation. Composer/ playwright/lyricist Linda Eisenstein and Michael Sepesy (who wrote the book and shared the lyrical duties) have createdfrom scratcha fast-paced, high energy look at the madness that surrounds this time of the year. There are comic sketches of varying lengths and delightful songs that youll find yourself humming for the next few days after youve indulged in this feast. - Kelly Ferjutz, The Times Full review
"A proudly neurotic, defiantly ramshackle, old-fashioned revue, made expressly for the delectation of those who revel in gaudy Christmas elves and Allan Shermans musical spoofs...Book-lyric writer Michael Sepesy intuitively understands the joys of oldtime burlesque. Using the framework of a group of lunatics attempting to man a holiday hotline, who are driven further into their own paranoia by unfaithful spouses, horrific shopping experiences, cliché-addicted therapists, and, most of all, a madcap Christmas fairy, he also spins off the pandemonium surrealistic asides, like a nebbishy Jesus, bitching to his Jewish mother about his lack of birthday presents, a rotund Jimmy Stewart being inappropriately touched by an angel, and a group of singing mannequins programmed to sexually arouse customers into a buying frenzy...It endears as a human counterpart to the TV perennial Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer isle of misfit toys." - Keith Joseph, Free Times Full review
"A hoot for the holidays...Holiday Hotline, at the Orthodox, a converted church, starts with enthusiasm, as stressed phone operators offer call-in advice, despite their own holiday depression, singing "Help Me, Holiday Hotline." The advice gag continues, interspersed throughout the show. There are a lot of fun numbers and great singing, from opera to pop to polka." - Kevin Cronin, Cool Cleveland Full review
"With Holiday Hotline, the two local playwrights [Eisenstein & Sepesy] have written a send-up of seasonal dysfunction. "Mike likes to say we take on the ho-ho-ho holiday season, making fun of things that are serious: people feeling alienated from shopping, having too many guests, mandatory merriment," says Eisenstein. "It's lighthearted, irreverent, something to offend everyone." Forget Rudolph. This one introduces Kevin the Kwanzaa Moose.
Hotline features six quick-change artists who are equally gifted with comedy and song. And their vocal assignments are varied, from torch songs to Broadway numbers to a polka. Mindy Childress directs the vaudeville-style revue, with Michael Flohr handling musical direction. Look for them at the Orthodox Church at 6203 Detroit Avenue, part of producer James Levin's new Detroit Avenue Arts Project. - Faye Sholiton, Northern Ohio Live
"At Detroit Avenue Arts' Orthodox Theater, Christmas just keeps getting queerer and queerer with the debut of HOLIDAY HOTLINE, running through December 23 with Linda Eisenstein as composer and co-lyricist and Wild Plum Productions' Denise Astorino as one of the stars in this musical comedy revue.
Eisenstein is the grand dame of Cleveland theater, with a wit so sharp you could take paper-thin slices off of a tomato with it. Astorino is one of the prime movers behind Cleveland's LGBT arts organization, housed at the Cleveland GLBT Community Center. When the two collaborate, nothing but good can come of it." - Tony Glassman, Gay People's Chronicle
PRESS REPRESENTATIVE: Dan Kilbane, 216-513-3654 DETROIT AVENUE ARTS PRESS RELEASE
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