'Tis the Season

Midtown is brimming with tourists. The tree is lit, the Rockettes are kicking, and your wallet is empty. Ah, Christmas in New York City. But this time of year not only ushers in a wave of doe-eyed sightseers eager to see the famous Rockefeller Center spruce. It also brings new theatrical productions, each dedicated to this most celebrated of seasons. With so many shows to choose from, deciding what to see is as daunting a task as navigating along Fifth Avenue. Search no more. If you are going to see one show during the holidays, let it be A Broken Christmas Carol, produced by the Broken Watch Theater Company at the Michael Weller Theater. It is a perfectly updated take on that classic Christmas tale: Ebenezer Scrooge is an evil CEO, the Cratchit family has entered a reality-TV contest to win money for Tiny Tim's leg surgery, and two Jewish kids look for the season's meaning at the mall. A Broken Christmas Carol gives the audience a shot of Christmas spirit spiked with 21st-century cynicism and irreverence.

The play is actually the combination of three separate stories written by playwrights James Christy, J. Holtham, and Kendra Levin and seamlessly woven together into one unified tale. "Yet to Come," by Holtham, is the story of a lapsed homeboy, Shawn (Keith Arthur Bolden), who is forced to remember the life he left behind when he is visited by the ghost of his friend DeWayne (William Jackson Harper).

Like Scrooge and Marley, Shawn and DeWayne were once friends and business partners. DeWayne died on a Christmas Eve years earlier when the two were on a drug run. Bolden, as the withdrawn Shawn, and Harper, as the loudmouth, wisecracking DeWayne (it is hard not to compare him to Chris Rock), play off each other with ease. As a result, hidden underneath the barrage of politically incorrect jokes

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