A Christmas Memory OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Carol Rosegg
  • NY TIMES

  • TM

  • DAILY NEWS

Opening Night:
November 25, 2014
Closing:
January 4, 2015

Theater: DR2 Theatre / 103 East 15th Street, New York, NY, 10003

Synopsis: 

Perfect for the holidays, A Christmas Memory is an elegant, heart-warming, musical celebration of a traditional Southern Christmas.  Set in Alabama in 1933, Memory tells the story of young Buddy, who is being raised by three eccentric cousins, and their last, precious Christmas together at home.  As Buddy and his cousin Sook gather ingredients for their World-Famous Christmas Fruitcake (with one to be delivered to the Roosevelts in the White House!), we are drawn back into a sweet world of innocence… of a warmth and emotion that has all but disappeared.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF A Christmas Memory

    The Moment Before Everything Changes

    Alexis Soloski

    December 4, 2014: Despite the hefty confections at its center, the Irish Repertory Theater’s A Christmas Memory, a musical version of the Truman Capote short story, is as slight as a popcorn strand, as wispy as tinsel. A tale of a boy’s attachment to his childlike cousin, it is an exercise in holiday nostalgia. In cold blood? More like in warm batter. In Duane Poole’s adaptation, the story begins in the 1950s, when Buddy (the moist-eyed Ashley Robinson), a writer struggling with his second book, returns to the Alabama house where he once lived with three elderly cousins. As he sits at the kitchen table, he’s borne back to his last Christmas there, which his younger self (Silvano Spagnuolo) spent in the glad company of his pup, Queenie, and his cousin Sook (a deglamorized Alice Ripley). Sook is a believer in fairy tales and Bible stories. Kind and playful, she has a marvelous sense of occasion. “Oh, can you feel it?” she asks the young Buddy elatedly. “The excitement in the air of an adventure about to begin?”

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF A Christmas Memory

    Truman Capote's short story comes to musical life at the Irish Rep

    David Gordon

    December 4, 2014: Adaptations are proving the hardest thing to do these days. There's always the question of how faithful something should be. A Christmas Memory, a production of the Irish Rep at the DR2 Theatre, is trapped somewhere in the middle. Based on the short story by Truman Capote, this new musical by Larry Grossman (music), Carol Hall (lyrics), and Duane Poole (book) expands upon the tale, first published in 1956, but still gets stuck in the follow-through. The story A Christmas Memory was inspired by Capote's own experiences growing up in Depression-era Alabama. It's about a friendship between two innocents, the effete young Buddy (Silvano Spagnuolo) and his adult cousin Sook (Tony winner Alice Ripley), and how they bake fruitcakes each holiday season. Life is tough for Buddy, who dreams of being a tap dancer in Hollywood pictures, while he's raised by kinfolk (Samuel Cohen and Nancy Hess) rather than his divorcing parents.

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  • NEW YORK DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF A Christmas Memory

    Truman Capote's classic short story is a musical starring Tony winner Alice Ripley at Irish Rep

    Joe Dziemianowicz

    December 4, 2014: Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory, a compact short story about about fruitcakes, oddballs and life-changing relationships, has expanded into a two-hour musical. But this warm-hearted yet wobbly production at Irish Rep reminds us that bigger doesn’t mean better. In 1933, young Buddy (Silvano Spagnuolo), Capote’s stand-in, spends another Christmas with his beloved elderly cousin Sook (Alice Ripley), who’s as nutty as fruitcakes they bake, and as flighty as the kites they send soaring into the Alabama sky. But it’s their last holiday together. He’s getting shipped off to military school and manhood. That’s straight from Capote’s original, but book writer Duane Poole expands characters who are mentioned in passing. There’s cousins Jennie (Nancy Hess) and Seabon (Samuel Cohen), and a grown-up Buddy (Ashley Robinson), a hotshot New Yorker home for the first time in 20 years to sell the family house. He reflects on what he’s lost and what he’s learned.

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