Ian Galligan as Crumpet in Santaland Diaries

This Week in New Haven (November 20 - 26)

This week’s holiday cornucopia is stuffed with the offbeat and the impertinent.

Monday, November 20
At 6:30 p.m., students at Cooperative Arts High School (177 College St, New Haven) are putting on Heathers: The Musical. Closely based on the 1988 film Heathers, it’s got a lot of the same elements: popular bullies, unpopular discontents and surprisingly dark comedy. Also surprising are the relatively affordable ticket prices, costing $8 for adults ($10 at the door) and $4 for students.

Tuesday, November 21
Getting a jump on others—including New Haven’s tree lighting next week—Chuck & Eddie’s Used Auto Parts (190 Middletown Ave, New Haven; 203-777-8868) invites the public to attend the lighting of its “huge” holiday sign at 6:30 p.m. In addition to basking in the glow of “Season’s Greetings” spelled out in red outlined block letters, attendees can enjoy complimentary food from a grilled cheese truck. Free.

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GRL and Realtors, LLC, serving New Haven, CT

Wednesday, November 22
At 9 p.m., Cafe Nine (250 State St, New Haven; 203-789-8281) celebrates Thanksgiving in its usual unusual way: Dean Falcone’s Annual Thanksgiving Vomitorium. With the dial set to the 1980s, this year’s radio-ready pitch goes like this: “We overcook perfectly good songs and violate them! Watch friends and enemies battle their way through songs they don’t know! Watch in amazement as audience members are unwillingly dragged to the stage to sing! See who fills the Vomitorium buckets with holiday cheer! See all your favorite bar stars!” $10.

Thursday, November 23 – Thanksgiving
Whatever you do, may you fill both your belly and your heart.

Friday, November 24
Mr. Gilbert’s Railroad, the Eli Whitney Museum’s annual Christmastime exhibit of the historic New Haven-based A.C. Gilbert Company’s American Flyer trains, opens today with special hours from noon to 5 p.m. Especially enthralling for children, both literal and inner, the setup customarily includes a large miniature landscape and the ability to conduct locomotives through and around it using switches along the edge. The trains themselves are authentic artifacts in two ways: as toys, they’re originals, and as models, they’re exacting scaled-down versions of real trains that once traversed the country. Free. 915 Whitney Avenue, Hamden. (203) 777-1833.

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The Chosen at Long Wharf Theatre

Saturday, November 25
At 5 p.m. in Westville, reviving a format that peaked about a hundred years ago, Madame Thalia’s Vaudeville Revue takes the stage at Lyric Hall (827 Whalley Ave, New Haven; 203-389-8885), promising “music! Magic! Puppetry! Juggling!” $20.

Downtown, the retro vibes pulse even harder. Orchestra New England’s 38th annual Colonial Concert—preceded by its Colonial Dinner, “a sumptuous, festive feast” beginning at 6 p.m. in the Elm City Club’s Graduate Clubhouse (155 Elm St, New Haven; $45)—happens at 8 p.m. in United Church on the Green (270 Temple St, New Haven). “A flash-back entertainment event wigs, waistcoats and candlelight,” the live musical program contains pieces that would’ve been timely hundreds of years ago—including “the hottest popular song from Paris”—plus theatrical “period high jinks.” Tickets to the concert cost $20 for general admission or $35 for reserved seating, with student tickets getting a heavy discount at just $5 apiece.

The Ballroom at The Outer Space (295 Treadwell St, Hamden; 203-288-6400), meanwhile, is time-traveling a little closer to now with a 9 p.m. all-ages performance by Talking Heads tribute act Start Making Sense. Professing great respect for the art and sound of the Talking Heads, the band says to “prepare yourself for a rockin’, funkin’, danceable celebration of the new wave art punk you loved from the ’80s!” $18, or $15 in advance.

Sunday, November 26
Recommended “for mature elves only” (ages 14 and up), David Sedaris’s autobiographical Santaland Diaries—in which “a struggling young actor takes a job as a Christmas elf at Macy’s in New York City and offers a sarcastic, witty, irreverent accounting of elf training, bad Santas, abusive customers and humiliating conditions”—has been playing all weekend in the Shubert Theater’s Xfinity Lounge (247 College St, New Haven; 203-562-5666). Critical of “crass commercialism” and an “antidote to the schmaltz of the season,” the show’s finale performance begins at 6 p.m. $40.

Written by Dan Mims. Image depicts Ian Galligan as Crumpet in Santaland Diaries. Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.

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