By Tracy Doyle
If you’re looking for a little holiday fun that isn’t your 234th viewing of A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker, or It’s a Wonderful Life, head to the Off-Broadway Theatre for Next Act’s delightful presentation of Tom Dudzick’s GREETINGS! This holiday favorite tells the story of the Gorski family on Christmas Eve as they entertain two very unexpected guests.
Andy Gorski, who has moved from his small town to the big city, returns home for Christmas with his new girlfriend, Randi Stein. Almost immediately upon arrival, Randi, an atheistic Jew, and the Gorskis, devoutly Catholic, start to argue about religion. Sparks fly and the holiday seems to be ruined until Andy’s younger mentally disabled brother Mickey saves the day. As the evening progresses, old beliefs are challenged, new beliefs are forged, and the family is drawn together by the arrival of a second incredible holiday guest.
Although the script is heavy handed at times and each plot line hammers the same idea over and over, the loving spirit of the play shines through. The cast of GREETINGS! is stellar and enjoyable to watch. David Cecsarini and Debra Babich are very believable as Mr. and Mrs. Gorski; they bicker and jab as only a long-married couple can, yet they are never stale or stereotypical. Often I found myself wondering how the heck my grandparents had found their way onto the stage.
It all comes together for an unforgettable night of great theatre – if you see GREETINGS!, be prepared to laugh and open your heart and mind a little to let in the true spirit of the holidays.
GREETINGS! runs through Decmber16 at the Off-Broadway Theatre. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling the ticket office at 414-278-0765 or online at www.nextact.org.