Patrick Ryan Sullivan in SANTALAND DIARIES at Titusville Playhouse 2nd Stage. Photo by Niko Stamos.
By PAM HARBAUGH
Broadway has its Hugh Jackman. Hollywood has its, well, Hugh Jackman.
Brevard is no different when it comes to Star Power attraction. Indeed, Titusville Playhouse’s 2nd Stage is relying on the popularity and appeal of Patrick Ryan Sullivan to pack the house for a show that’s quite provocative in these latitudes.
The idea is a good one. Already, the TPI 2nd Stage’s “Santaland Diaries” is almost sold out.
Written by edge-meister David Sedaris, “Santaland Diaries” show is frequently provocative and has been known to make audiences wonder where the holiday spirit went. So, casting Mr. Sullivan, a performer beloved to TPI audiences was a no-brainer.
The non-PC language in the show is a challenge, Mr. Sullivan admitted. So, he said, he’s going for the character’s inner truth, which he knows will get a emotional payoff out of the funny monologue.
“I’m glad it’s a one act because this is the type of show that if you play it right, people would want to leave at intermission,” he said. “This (character) is someone who is jaded. I don’t think you get the first look into his soul until about half way through.
Mr. Sullivan is a point of pride for TPI said director Nikos Stamos. He grew up in Titusville, played football for Titusville High, did theater at TPI. After graduating college, he moved to New York and became a professional actor. He appeared on Broadway as Gaston in “Beauty and the Beast” and also as Julian Marsh in “42nd Street.”
He has performed in professional regional theater including Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach and taken frequent leading roles at TPI. Most recently, he was in St. Petersburg, Florida directing the holiday show for Freefall Theatre.
“Santaland Diaries” revolves around a woebegone, cynical actor (Sedaris, actually), down on his luck and out of money, who finds a job as an elf in Santa’s Workshop at Macy’s in New York City.
It details the actor’s experiences getting into the spirit of a season filled more with cheap bourbon than the milk of human kindness.
The first time Mr. Sullivan heard the monologue was on the car radio while driving in New Jersey.
“I had to pull to the side of the road,” he said. “It was one of the funniest things I ever heard…It’s gonna be a blast. It’s gonna be cool.”
SIDE O’ GRITS: TPI’s 2nd Stage production of “The Santaland Diaries” runs Dec. 7 to the 16. TPI is at 301 Julia St., Titusville. The 2nd Stage venue is across the street at 407 South Washington Ave., Titusville. Tickets are $20. Service fees may apply. Call 321-268-1125 or visit TitusvillePlayhouse.com.
This is an edited version of a story running in the Melbourne Beachsider.