Thursday, December 2, 2010

The 12 Dates of Christmas by Ginna Hoben

Ginna Hoben in The 12 Dates of Christmas. Photo by Michael Bailey.
The 12 Dates of Christmas is a brand new show, written and performed by Ginna Hoben and directed by Jim Warren. The play is about a New York City based actor in her 30s, from Ohio (hmmm, sounds familiar) named Mary who loves the holidays until she sees her fiancee passionately kissing his co-worker during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. To further the humiliation, she sees the betrayal on national television while attending Thanksgiving dinner at her parent's house in Ohio and receives an alarming number of phone calls and texts about the said encounter. Well, she dumps said offender, deposits her engagement ring in a Salvation Army kettle, and proceeds to try to get on with her life. She's is set-up on a series of comically bad and bizarre dates by friends and family (you'll love the aunt) for the next year (some of which are based on real life, not necessarily Ginna's). I've heard Ginna say the play is kind of a poor man's "Sex in the City," but I think she shortchanges her play in that comparison, it stands more on its own than an imitation. It's a very original, entertaining, and happy night at the theatre.

Ginna is always strongest in comedic roles and she was definitely on top of her game on this night, aptly called "Ladies Night." The play is hilarious. I don't believe I've ever laughed as much (or as audibly) at the ASC as I did for this show. We were the only people sitting on stage and Ginna paid a lot of attention to us, which was great. Joining Ginna on stage were ASC Reckless Ecstasy touring troupe actors Brandi Rhome and Kelley McKinnon as the "Doo Wop Girls," who Ginna calls her "Greek Chorus." Daniel Jimenez, Aidan O'Reilly, and Jake Mahler provide pre-show entertainment, mostly Christmas music, but the show opens with a fantastic, haunting version of "Look at Miss Ohio." Ginna, Kelley, and Brandi (and a cameo by Jim Warren) held an informative "Talk Back" following the show with Ginna explaining the genesis of the show, inspirations, and her hopes for its future. Ginna's dream is that it can become a female answer to "Santaland Diaries." I think it's every bit as funny and much more original (in that it's really the only female centered Holiday play around). Frankly, more people (male & female) can identify with Mary's plight in "12 Dates" than Crumpet's in "Santaland."

If you enjoy a good laugh and a good story, don't miss "12 Dates" playing now through the end of the month.

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