When you conjure up a mental image of one of Santa's elves, you probably don't picture a tall, scowling cynic who calls himself Crumpet.

"Santaland Diaries," a one-man play based on writer David Sedaris' wry memoir about his stint as one of Santa's elves at Macy's in New York, offers a different angle on holiday spirit.

"I think the thing that is great about this show is that it helps us to laugh at all the things about the season that really drive us nuts, while still managing to convey the message of the holiday season," said actor David Yen, who stars in the current Rohnert Park production.

Yen, who also starred in a popular downtown Santa Rosa run of the show last December, returns in this production, playing at 7:30 tonight at Spreckels Performing Arts Center, 5409 Snyder Lane.

The show, directed by Argo Thompson, runs through Dec. 13, with performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $21-$24. For information, call 588-3400 or go to


The show has proven so popular that Pegasus Theater, the Russian River-area troupe, plans its own production, playing Saturday through Dec. 20 at the Sonoma West Inn and Spa, 14100 Brookside Lane, Guerneville. Admission: $15. Information: pegasustheater.com or 522-9043.

-- Dan Taylor