PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- Santa Claus will be showing there's more to him than meets the eye next weekend in Peekskill.
"The Santa Closet" is being performed at Embark in Peekskill at 925 South St. on Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 14 at 3 p.m. The play is written and performed by Jeffrey Solomon and previously ran Off Broadway.
The play is a mockumentary where Santa Claus comes out as gay after a boy asks for a doll usually meant for girls.
"Because Santa is a closeted gay man, he gives the kid a truck," Solomon said. "He hears some homophobic chatter among the elves in the sleigh."
It turns out that Mrs. Claus is an actress hired as a cover after Santa's sexuality made Coca Cola nervous. Santa later meets his true love, Giovanni Geppetto, a descendant of Pinocchio.
A group called Families Against Gay Agenda criticizes Santa, saying he is trying to convert children to homosexuality.
Solomon was inspired by controversies over discussions of issues related to gays and lesbians, particularly when a school in California wanted to start a Gay Straight Alliance Club.
"People fear that it's inappropriate to discuss LGBTQ issues with children," Solomon said. "Or by discussing the existence of gay people, they think you're talking about sex."
Though Solomon is Jewish, he grew up loving Santa Clause and his reindeer. The play contains many references to classic Christmas specials.
"Rudolph is big into diversity and sensitivity training," Solomon said.
Solomon said he grew up at a time when these issues were never discussed.
"There was no visibility," Solomon said. "If there was, it was stereotypical, derogatory and degrading. I had a hard time when I discovered I was gay, because it was not talked about. The message we took away was that it was bad and there was something wrong with you."
Solomon, who performs the play every Christmas, said he is looking forward to performing in Peekskill, having previously performed at Embark.
"There's big laughs and people have found it heartwarming," Solomon said. "If anyone steps away from it with the courage to have honest conversations, that's great."
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