Taylor Mac lounges in his 'evil elf' costume in his new drag holiday extravaganza 'Holiday Sauce.' (Little Fang Photography)
The festive season is full of expectations — that dinner will be delicious, that the gifts will be great, and that everyone will get along, just like in a Christmas edition of "The Brady Bunch" or "The Waltons."
But as many of us know, the reality of the holidays is often quite different. "It's a little like water torture," said Taylor Mac. "It chisels away at you every single year."
"It's the holidays," said L.A.-based actor Jeff Sumner. "People want something kind of different."
Sumner portrays funny old ladies in pantomimes (aka "pantos"), an old English holiday tradition gaining popularity in the U.S.
The company he works for, Lythgoe Family Panto, produces several pantomimes annually in cities like Pasadena and Nashville.
Panto always involves a love story, topical humor — and a man in a dress.
"This element of drag makes it much more fantastical and much more joyous, as if like another version of Santa Claus has just dropped into your living room," Sumner said.
That’s exactly what Taylor Mac is going for with the drag show “Holiday Sauce”. The artist plans to expand the production each year, aiming eventually to rival mainstream holiday entertainment.
"My fantasy is that we can get all the retired Rockettes in our show," Mac said. "The Rockettes' Christmas Spectacular seems like such a sexist machine, with some really creepy traditions to it, and just so corporate. So it would be fabulous to replace that."
Taylor Mac’s “Holiday Sauce” runs at San Francisco’s Curran Theatre through Nov. 30. You can also catch the show Dec. 14 and 15 at Royce Hall in Los Angeles.
Lythgoe Family Panto presents "Beauty and the Beast" at Laguna Playhouse Dec. 5-30, and "The Wonderful Winter of Oz" at Pasadena Civic Dec. 14-30.