Gamm’s Kidd will put on the tights to play Crumpet in ‘Santaland Diaries’

Gamm’s Kidd will put on the tights to play Crumpet in ‘Santaland Diaries’

Steve Kidd played the lead role as Crumpet the Elf eight years ago. He will put on the tights again this year in the Gamm’s production of “Santaland Diaries,” which opens Wednesday, Dec. 13, and runs through Saturday, Dec. 23. For tickets, visit www.gammtheatre.org or call 401-723-4266.

PAWTUCKET – It’s been eight years since Steve Kidd put on the tights to play Crumpet the Elf in “Santaland Diaries,” which opens for its latest run at Pawtucket’s Gamm Theatre on Wednesday, Dec. 13.

“I haven’t tried the tights on yet,” said Kidd. Tony Estrella, the show’s director, asked Kidd if he wanted to try them on, saying David Howard (the show’s costumer) could help adjust them if need be.

Since the last time Kidd played Crumpet, he’s put on about 15 pounds.

“Since then, I’ve experienced marriage and fatherhood,” he asid. “Let’s say I put on some extra pounds for security purposes.”

The performance, written by David Sedaris, is a one-man show and semi-autobiographical about a man who lands a job as one of Santa’s elves at Macy’s Department Store.

“He lands in New York, hoping to write for a soap opera,” said Kidd. “He’s desperate. He’s going to call his mom for a loan, but feels he’s way too old for that. He can’t even get a job with UPS. So he gets a job at Macy’s instead.”

Crumpet walks the audience through elf orientation, and shines a light on “the underside of Macy’s. They have millions in employee theft, so employees are treated like criminals.”

There’s a focus on “the tension of seeing Santa. The mania that’s supposed to be joyful,” said Kidd. “We have to provide this amazing Christmas experience for our kids, and that causes angst and tension for parents.”

Sedaris, says Kidd, speaks to what people want to say, but don’t say out loud.

“People hear it, and say, yes, I have felt that,” he said.

Kidd finds his own focus is different now. The character is in his 30s, and he’s 43 now.

“My life is dramatically different now. I’m married, we’ve got two boys, a house, a dog, and I’ve got a job. Now I’ve got age and experience,” he said.

His own children give him perspective.

“My son saw Santa on the Macy’s Parade (on Thanksgiving), and he was so excited. I understand the desire for a perfect white Christmas. Everything under the tree, the right wreath. We still have to go to work, we still have to do what we do while we do all the rest.”

The show this time is firmly grounded in the ’90s, when the piece was written. “We’re setting it in the ’90s for the first time. Back when we did it originally, it was in the now,” said Kidd. The ’90s were very different than today.

“There was barely an iPhone, barely Facebook, no Instagram,” said Kidd. “It lends a really cool nostalgic touch to it.”

Estrella is directing the show for the first time, and that’s fun for Kidd.

“He’s an actor’s actor. He can communicate perfectly,” he said. “He’s able to break down all the sentences, find the punch lines.”

Estrella did ask if Kidd wanted to dye his now gray hair to make the character look younger.

“When the gray was coming in, I would religiously dye my hair every three weeks,” says Kidd.” Not anymore. I’m going to stay gray.”

“Santaland Diaries” runs Dec. 13 through Dec. 23 at the Sandra Feinstein Gamm Theatre, 172 Exchange St., Pawtucket. Visit www.gammtheatre.org or call 401-723-4266 for tickets and details.