Christmas in the cosmos

By Meryl Fulinara

Ground Control to Major Tom: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas-in space.

Known for its spoofs and satirical on-stage productions, New Millennium Theater Company has added a new show to its bill on Nov. 22 that runs until the end of December. “The David Bowie Hepzikat Funky Velvet Flarney Solstice Spectacular: Live … from Space! (David Bowie’s Christmas Special 1977 Network Edit)” is based around what a 1970s David Bowie Christmas special would be like if one really existed. The show is currently running at the National Pastime Theater, 4139 N. Broadway St.

New Millennium Theater Company has recreated the show using archived photos, audio recordings and network script notes of the made-up special that never was where the musician gathered with his friends, including artists Marianne Faithful, Annie Lennox and the “ghost” of Freddie Mercury, taking them on a journey through outer space in Bowie’s space station to celebrate the Solstice.

“David Bowie wanted to be too weird, and the network wanted him to be too normal,” said Steve Attanasie, who wrote and directed the comedy. “[Basically,] there wasn’t any usable footage that the network could air, so the show is us trying to recreate this special for the audience so they know right away it’s not going to be the real David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop and its actors portraying them.”

The show’s assistant director, Laura Coleman, said the cast seems to have risen to the occasion and were open to the show’s “flighty” insanity.

“When the audience came in and saw it, we were blown away by the initial reception we got,” Coleman said. “It’s been great. I’ve had the most fun ever. There’s nothing serious about it at all.”

Inspired by the old ’70s Christmas specials of Bing Crosby and Andy Williams, Attanasie wanted to recreate a variety hour Christmas special feel to the show, but in an unconventional way.

The show is packed with parodies of Bowie’s hits, as well as spoofs of classic songs from musicians who make appearances throughout the show.

In one scene, Sam Quinn, who plays the part of Bowie, sings a duet with the ghost of Freddy Mercury, at which point Quinn gyrates in front of audience members during a rendition of “Under Pressure.”

“I feel like singing is one of the best ways to get to the audience,” Quinn said. “My favorite part of the show is when I sing ‘Under Pressure.'”

The biggest concern for Quinn, 23, was his lack of periodic culture references from the ’70s. He said he thought since he didn’t get most of the references, his friends and the audience might not get it either.

“It’s really unexpected for a Christmas show,” Quinn said. “I think especially [for] young people-if they are sick and tired of boring Christmas-themed specials and movies-this is a show with a lot more flavor and spice.”

“The David Bowie Hepzikat Funky Velvet Flarney Solstice Spectacular: Live … from Space! (David Bowie’s Christmas Special 1977 Network Edit)”  runs every Friday and Saturday through Dec. 27. The show starts at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door. For tickets, call (312) 458-9083, or visit