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Holiday dinner show like no other: 'Crawfords' at the Boom

If you are looking for a grownup holiday experience with good food and drink, “Christmas with the Crawfords” at the Boom might just be your ticket. A satire/parody of the late Joan Crawford’s famously dysfunctional family at Christmas, the show features a radio broadcast by Hedda Hopper and visits from a long list of Hollywood legends, including such luminaries as Judy Garland, Carmen Miranda, Gloria Swanson, the Andrews Sisters, Edith Head, and Shirley Temple. Each of the visitors (all of them actually looking for a Christmas party at another house) delivers a holiday “number” with some zing in it. Meanwhile Crawford’s two adopted children, Christina and Christopher, comment on life with Mommie dearest.

Staged in the performance room, which is smoke free, “Christmas with the Crawfords” is designed as an over-the-top parody, and there is nothing subtle about the humor. Some of the references may be offensive, but the producers are equal-opportunity offenders—no one is left out. Joan Crawford would probably have found reasons to complain about the Boom’s excellent service, food, and beverage options, but patrons should have a great time.

The show begins with a funny and helpful montage of some of Crawford’s most famous on-screen moments, many of which are referenced during the show. (A look at the Wikipedia article on Christina Crawford’s memoir, “Mommie Dearest” might be worth the time, since some of its most infamous moments receive a nod as well.) The curtain opens on one of the Boom’s most carefully detailed and glamorous sets, representing the living room of the Crawford home in Brentwood on an afternoon shortly before Christmas. Joan, in one of her famous OCD rants, needs to prepare the house for the visit of famous gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, and she is distressed to find so many unexpected visitors wandering through her home.

Starring (there is no other word for it) as Joan Crawford is Kitty Bob Aimes, the regular co-host of the Boom’s Sunday brunches, and she gave a performance worthy of the great screen diva. Erin Heatly and Scotty Taylor as Christina and Christopher, respectively, were quite charming and funny as bratty kids who have good reason to be brats. The other member of the household is “Jane”—a Bette Davis role—played with a nicely caustic edge by Robert Matson.

A parade of classic Hollywood greats visit the Crawfords, starting with Shirley Temple played by Darron Dunbar, who also becomes Hedda Hopper for the bulk of the show. All the others are played by three actors: Carmen Deveraux, Cassidy Queerface, and Angel Superstud. They begin as the Andrews Sisters and deliver a nicely harmonized rendition of a parody song before departing. Deveraux returns as Edith Head in a brief, almost cameo, moment, setting up a bit, then again as Gloria Swanson to a rendition of a carol medley with a “Gloria-ous” chorus, and one more time as the fruit-laden Carmen Miranda. Always on the bleeding edge of parody, Deveraux gave us great comic melodrama as Swanson and a delightfully ludicrous Miranda.

Cassidy Queerface provided a gutsy Judy Garland, essaying an a capella rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in Garland’s concert style. Angel Superstud gave us Ethel Merman’s deliberate and raunchy pragmatism as well as Merman’s signature song styling.

The Boom stage does not readily lend itself to specialized lighting effects, but the designer managed some clever uses of color to underscore some of the broad humor in this play. Costumes and wigs provided the appropriate glamour and helped the audience identify the characters as they paraded past.

“Christmas with the Crawfords” plays Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 until December 20 in the Boom’s performance room, which also offers full bar service and access to one of the better quality, moderately priced kitchens in Oklahoma City. Dinner service, which starts at 6:30, has a seasonal menu; current offerings include pork roast with blackberry reduction and apple-cornbread stuffing, and a raspberry glazed salmon, to name just two options.

Tickets are available via Ticketstorm. Call (866) 966-1777 for tickets, or go to Visit the Boom’s website at The Boom is open to patrons over 21 only.