‘Tuna’ for Christmas: Gallery Players offer a dose of Texas

for The Brooklyn Paper
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No, the two men running around the stage wearing dresses and cursing about a son on parole or the filthy language of Christmas carols aren’t part of a ribald holiday drag show at the Gallery Players; they’re bringing to life all 22 characters in “A Tuna Christmas.”

“It’s a Wonderful Life” this is not.

Set on Christmas Eve in Texas’s smallest town, Ed Howard, Joe Sears and Jaston Williams’s cult classic stars — in all 22 roles — Justin Barnette and Brian Letchworth. They sing and act and repeatedly chew up scenery and change costumes in 15-second clips.

Neither of them seems worried. After all, they both grew up in the south.

“I know these people,” said Letchworth, who hails from North Carolina.

Georgian Barnette added, “All the people I’ve ever met in New York have found me to be funny and charming, so I think there will be a great appreciation of the show!”

Seriously, he added, “Savvy theater audiences appreciate anything that’s well written. Like ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’ You don’t have to be Jewish to like that. You don’t even have to be Jewish to be in it!”

And you don’t need to be a dysfunctional Texan to love this viciously funny show. Whether it’s the Smut Snatchers explaining that “ye merry gentlemen” is coded homosexual speak or matriarch Bertha Bumiller punishing her children for lacking the holiday spirit by inflicting Andy Williams’s Christmas album on them, the show is a pitch perfect satire of small town mores.

“A Tuna Christmas” runs Dec. 6–21 at The Gallery Players (199 14th St., between Fourth and Fifth Avenues in Park Slope). Tickets, $18. Visit or call (212) 352-3101 for info.

Updated 5:10 pm, July 9, 2018
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