War on Christmas 2022 @ Theatre Off Jackson

Take a vacation from Seattle’s Christmas Industrial Complex 🎄

A cover image for Scott Shoemaker's War on Christmas featuring holiday ornaments and Santa Claus faces

📸: Freakout Festival | Pearl Charles

Runs December 2 – 24

Most local theatres have a holiday ritual, with shows geared explicitly toward audiences they’ve cultivated over years and even decades. The 140-seat Theatre Off Jackson in the Chinatown-International District? They have whatever Scott Shoemaker and Freddy Molitch of Shoe and Pants Productions have cooked up with Scott Shoemaker’s War on Christmas, a raunchy and gut-busting variety show that caters to a rowdier, late-night crowd.

“I love that we have a point of view that’s different than all the other shows in Seattle’s Christmas Industrial Complex,” Shoemaker told The Ticket. “Even though the variety show format is something people have seen a lot, I think people are constantly surprised at the audacity of the things we’ll put on the stage. I can’t think of a show that’s as twisted as ours, and if there is one, it should be shut down immediately because it’s clearly gone too far.”

Previously staged at the Re-Bar (🪦 ), War on Christmas is a mix of song, dance, “partial nudity,” and holiday cheer co-starring other weirdos Mandy Price, Faggedy Randy, and Adé. New to the cast this year is Major Scales, known for his work with two-time Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon (The Vaudevillians, The Ginger Snapped) and in the BenDeLaCreme Halloween extravaganza Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor.

War on Christmas, much like Shoemaker/Molitch’s long-running Ms. Pak-Man series, is a living document and changes shape with the times. (I dearly miss a bit from an earlier version involving a murderous Icelandic Yule Cat, but 2019 was a different world.) Shoemaker doesn’t want to spoil any surprises, but he does leave us with the following:

“The show is always…I guess the word would be ‘irreverent’…but this year, it’s a bit aggressively so. Things are really dark right now, and Freddy and I are firm believers that laughing in the face of adversity is the best way to get through things. Even if the laughter is extremely inappropriate.”

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Marcus Gorman

Marcus Gorman is a Seattle-based playwright and film programmer. He once raised money for a synagogue by marathoning 15 Adam Sandler movies in one weekend. You can find him on Instagram and Twitter @marcus_gorman.