[Photos by THOMAS SHEEDER]
BY AARON STELLA Some people just get more Christmas than others this year. While the Scrooges of Wall Street help themselves to the bailout buffet, us Cratchets must fight to make ends meat, much less a “Merry Christmas” (and it’s ‘Happy Holidays’ now, by the way). Even the shrewd, business-savvy Jews are barely scraping by; at least that’s the case in the Dumpsta Players’ destitute portrait of the Lipshitz family. This year for Christmas, trash-glitz drag troupe the Dumpsta Players showed their sympathy to the millions going without this Christmas in “A Very Lipshitz Christmas” on December 18th at Bob Barbara’s.
Of course, there was nothing “Lipshitz” about the performance for this veteran lip-syncing band of thespians; nothing except the unrelenting barrage of Yiddish and kvetching, that is. The Lipshitz are a family of orthodox Jews out on their luck. The father, Perry Lipshitz, played by DPs’ founder and guru jokester Ricky Paul, has lost his job at the Lehman Brothers on Wall Street, which has forced his pugnacious spouse Libby Lipshitz, played by Lance Pawling, to peddle her wares with rebellious daughter Bethsheba, played by Crystal Whybark, everywhere including the ex-gay ministry church led by Deacon Dick Dunceworth and his consort Ethel Witzletheimer.
With son and daughter in tow, Libby sweeps onto stage in her opening act of “We Need a Little Christmas,” expressing her full but ostensibly reluctant embrace of the Christmas season, despite her Judaism. Perry and Bethsheba disapprove, but to no avail. Next enter Bubby Lipshitz and Bubby Bernstein who sing a little ditty from the old country, “Rumaine Rumaine,” complete with spry, geriatric choreography, which brought the audience to stitches. Then Bethsheba and Libby traipse back on stage to have it out, only for their argument to erupt into violence and mayhem, and Perry Lipshitz swearing his wife will send him to an early grave before his angina does.
Ah, and the plot thickens. South Philly degenerate mother Tiny Colleta, played by the Divine Miss Jimmie, and daughter Lurlayne Swallows, played by Sara Sherr, amble into the ex-gay ministry church to gorge on the free food and compete in the Christian disco dance competition. But Libby and Bethsheba are close behind, selling their wares, and ready to compete in the dance contest as well. After a lengthy denigration of homosexuals by Deacon Dick, the dancing begins, but the party’s soon crashed. Thirteenth Street drag queen Miss Tony and Spanish sensation Rosita Conchita Rodriguez are quick to steal the Deacon’s thunder and have a dance party all their own. It’s not long before a rousing speech from Miss Tony ignites a brawl among the cast members, where an enraged Libby, wielding a festively lit Jesse tree, delivers the final blow to the wretched Colleta, who tumbles to the floor with a thud. Once again, good triumphs over evil; love conquers hate and prejudice; and to celebrate, the DPs pull members from the audience to join in the finale dance of “Hava Nagilah!”
If you didn’t catch the DPs’ December 18th, be sure to stop by Giovanni’s room at 11th and Pine streets and check out their annul calendar chock full of the DPs’ in their most dissident and miscreant personas yet. OK kiddos, until next time…