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Have a Sondheim Holiday
by Chris Zammarelli

As I'm sure you all know, my birthday, October 13, marks the beginning of the holiday season, which is so called because every major holiday except Easter is crammed into a two-and-a-half month period in order to drain our checking accounts and to run up our credit card bills. Personally, I think it's a plot between Fleet, Wells Fargo, Sears, Wal-Mart, and the government, but you may have your own theories.

Anyway, I'm sure you Sondheads would like to incorporate a little night music into your holidays (it's a pun, get it? HAHAHAHAHA ... sorry), so here are my suggestions. Take them ... they don't violate any copyright laws. I don't think so, anyway.

Thanksgiving: The easiest way to have a Sondheim Thanksgiving is to serve meat pies, but in case you're not a cannibalistic barber, may I suggest reenacting PACIFIC OVERTURES with your feast? The turkey can be Japan the candlestick can be the tree, and I don't think you need me to tell you what the gravy boat can be ...

Hannakah: Did you know that Stephen Sondheim is Jewish? It's true, so you can be sure he's putting on his yarmulke, lighting his menorah, and spinning his dradle during this holy Jewish holiday. And the matzah ball soup is delicious, if a bit salty. Actually, I don't know how orthodox the master really is, so those of you who are Jewish can celebrate Hannakah the same way Gentiles celebrate Christmas: with crass commercialism ...

Christmas: Give friends velvet paintings of clowns with the words to "Send In The Clowns" inscribed on the back. Instead of caroling, go Sondoling: go door to door with a group of friends and offer to sing selections from COMPANY for money. Don't forget, however, that Christmas is really a time for family, so, gather the kids around the fire and read them the libretto to INTO THE WOODS.

Boxing Day: This is a holiday for our friends in Cananda and in the United Kingdom. Switch places with Stephen Sondheim: you can write a musical about the Mizner Brothers, and he can be a chartered accountant or a hockey player or whatever other career path you've chosen. Unless I'm confusing Boxing Day with Arbor Day.

Kwanzaa: Hmm, this is a toughie. Kwanzaa is a relatively new holiday, created to celebrate African-American culture. I guess those of you who are African-American can celebrate Kwanzaa the same way European-Americans celebrate Christmas: with crass commercialism.

New Year's: Ah, yes, the beginning of the New Year. A time for atonement and soul searching and waking with a bad hangover and swearing you'll never drink again. In order to forget about all this, have a toga party a la FORUM. To make it more Roman you can shape your cat's food like little people and pretend you're sending the Christians to the lions. Of course some, particularly Christians, may find this in bad taste. Know your crowd beforehand to prevent embarrasment.

One final note: even though it has passed, I will tell you know how to celebrate my birthday when it comes around next year. (October 13th, remember.) Donate money to the Roger Williams University Law School with the stipulation that the name be changed to the Christopher M. Zammarelli Pre-Memorial Law School and Deli. Your contributions will be appreciated.

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