All About "All About Christmas Eve"

by Kay Bourne

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday December 6, 2008

Ryan Landry's outrageously merry merry-makers, the incomparable Gold Dust Orphans, usher in the season with a new, joyfully rendered, holiday spoof All About Christmas Eve.

To give you a little taste of Landry's new concoction, here's a synopsis of the much anticipated sugarplum direct from the offices of the Gold Dust Orphans: Boston: Christmas 1950. this is the story of an aging actress named Margo Channing. Margo has it all. A successful career, close friends, a man who loves her...the world lies calmly at her feet, until the day she meets EVE!..That ambitious young actress clawing her way to the top of the tree...but also of her friends...Birdie, LLyod, Karen and Bill...and a critic named Addison DeWitt. Mostly, this is the sotyr of who pretended to be everyones' friend when they were really nothing but her TOYS! This the a story about Eve...All About Eve in fact!

Thirsting for backstage gossip on this classic of the theater world, EDGE asked for an interview with the playwright and star of the show, Mr. Landry. With only hours to go before curtains up, Maestro Landry asked that we conduct our conversation via the internet.

Playing Margo

EDGE: Do you identify with Margo? In that vein, is there an Eve Harrington amongst the Orphans ready to snatch your stardom from you?

Ryan Landry: Well, I am getting older so yes, I suppose I do identify with the character, Margo Channing. It's a thrill to play one of the best written characters in fiction.

As far as snatching away my "stardom", I think Penny Champayne. Afrodite, Larry Coen and others have already done that many times over.

And quite beautifully I might add!
If you're still looking for "Eve"s, I think one of our new actors, Foster Grant (Michael Wood), has a GREAT career ahead of him. He's got that certain something ....

EDGE: If you weren't playing Margo, which other character would you play and why?

Ryan Landry: Addison DeWitt - Because he reminds me of so many people in the Boston theater community that, try as I might, I just don't understand.

EDGE: Okay, now that you've mentioned Addison DeWitt, he's one of the most biting, cynical and vicious portrait of a theater critic ever presented on film. Do you retain this character in your adaptation? And if so, is he modeled after any critic that you know? Please name names.

Ryan Landry: The critic's name in the film "All About Eve" is Addison DeWitt. The BOSTON critic, the person whom OUR Addison is based on shall remain name-LESS, thank you very much!

EDGE: I see that a Chicago company is producing "Silent Night of the Lambs." Did they let you know they were doing it? Are you going to see it? And is it difficult for you to watch other companies perform your work?

The Christmas Connection

Ryan Landry: Yes, they let me know. They even PAID me! Can you believe?!

I am flying out there to see it next week It's all very exciting as "HELL IN A HANDBAG" Productions in Chicago is a great little theater company.

They focus on a lot of the same themes we do and the Artistic Director, David Cerda, has become a personal friend.

It is never difficult to watch other theater companies do my work as long as they fully understand WHAT they are actually DOING.

This was NOT the case in Seattle when a company there did "sCARRIE". (my version of "Carrie".)

On the night I went I didn't even stay for the second act.

I found it VERY hard to watch as they took all the emotional energy out of the story and just made it one long, boring "drag" show.

This is because they didn't understand that The Orphans are NOT a drag company but a real, honest to goodness THEATER company.

As fucked up and bizarre as our characters are, we play them as if they do actually exist, be it in this world or beyond.
People who don't understand us tend to concentrate more on what we are WEARING and less on what we are SAYING.

EDGE: You are simply the best when it comes to writing these outrageous Christmas shows. Are you hoping to turn them into a cottage industry?

Ryan Landry: Thank you and yes.

EDGE: What is the Christmas connection to "All About Eve?"

Ryan Landry: It has the word "EVE" in the title. That's about it! LOL!

EDGE: What's more fun -- the roles you play with your own theater company or the roles you play for other companies like The Ogunquit Playhouse for instance?

Ryan Landry: I love the Orphans and will no doubt be leading the company until the day I die. But there is a certain satisfaction in venturing OUTSIDE my own circle.

My experience has been that I don't REALLY fit in with "normal" theater folk. They tend to be blinded by their own head shots.

Still, to walk into my dressing room in someone else's theater and know that everything else (costumes, sets, promotion, props, box office) is being taken care of BY someone else is a great feeling too.

EDGE: Do you find taking direction difficult?

Ryan Landry: Not when the director knows what the fuck he's talking about.

EDGE: Cole Porter once pondered the question, is it the girl or is it the gown? In your case, is it the twist on the title you suggest to the audience that motivates you to write a parody of a certain work, or are you drawn to the material itself and want to spoof it?

Ryan Landry: I would say both.

In THIS case, ("ALL ABOUT CHRISTMAS EVE") was the perfect choice as we had wanted to do "ALL ABOUT EVE" for quite some time now, I mean C'MON! It's a masterpiece!
Still, we could never fit into the schedule.

"SILENT NIGHT OF THE LAMBS" was a big hit for us but we've done it for three years in a row. It really was time for a brand new Christmas show . "ALL ABOUT CHRISTMAS EVE" is that show.
It's a FUN romp through the slush of the Boston theater scene!

EDGE: What are you giving me for Christmas?

Ryan Landry: Two tickets to a great new show called "ALL ABOUT CHRISTMAS EVE"!

Read EDGE's sparkling review of "All About Christmas Eve"

All About Christmas Eve continues through Jan 3, 2009 at Machine, 1254 Boylston Street, Boston, Mass. Friday and Saturdays at 8pm, selected Sunday matinees at 3pm. For more information,visit the Gold Dust Orphans website.