The Santaland Diaries

AboutPerformances and PricingArtistsPhotos & VideoReviews & PressAudience Buzz
The Santaland Diaries
(No Longer in Production) – check out Waffle Palace Christmas

By David Sedaris
Adapted by Joe Mantello

The outrageous holiday comedy, written by NPR comic genius David Sedaris, stars Crumpet, a rebel without a Clause who recounts the true-life tale of an out-of-work writer’s stint as a Macy’s Department Store elf.

Topher Payne takes over the role of Crumpet in our 19th year of Santaland Diaries! Click here to read the exclusive in the AJC.

Length & Content

The Santaland Diaries runs 90 minutes with no intermission. The play contains mature content and is not recommended for children.

Have you seen The Santaland Diaries at Horizon before?
CLICK HERE to learn about this year’s new twist. 

About the Play

Welcome to this wicked wonderland and exposé of all things elfin. Out of work and middle-aged, a writer in need of holiday cash decides to employ his gift for insightful observation in the trade of elfdom at Macy’s Department Store. Besieged by bratty kids with overzealous parents and donning a humiliating costume, he finds that his cynical self and his elfin alter ego, “Crumpet,” are not exactly compatible. His remedy for the saccharine overdose he endures in his never-endingly exuberant job is to tell all – giving us a backstage pass to the secret lives of Santas and elves. Though definitely not your traditional stocking stuffer, this caustic Christmas carol is a laughter-spiked antidote to the holiday blues.

Sardonic, satirical and sarcastic, the merry misanthrope recounts the tale of his stint as a Macy’s Department Store elf named Crumpet. Adapted from David Sedaris’ best-selling book Holidays on Ice, this holiday tale is a modern classic, made famous when it aired on National Public Radio.

About the Playwright

David Sedaris may well be the closest thing the literary world has these days to a rock star. He made his comic debut recounting his strange-but-true experiences of his job as a Macy’s elf clad in green tights, reading his The Santaland Diaries on NPR’s Morning Edition.  His sardonic wit and incisive social critique have since made him one of America’s pre-eminent humor writers.  Sedaris is the author of numerous best-selling collections of stories and personal essays, including Holidays on Ice (from which The Santaland Diaries play was adapted), Barrel Fever, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, and his most recent book, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls.   Sedaris’ original radio pieces can often be heard on the public radio show, This American Life.   He was previously named Time Magazine’s “Humorist of the Year” and has been nominated for three Grammy Awards for Best Spoken Word and Best Comedy Album.  His essays appear regularly in Esquire and The New Yorker and have twice been included in “The Best American Essays.”  There are a total of ten million copies of his books in print and they have been translated into 25 languages.   David Sedaris’ next book will be a collection of his diaries, entitled Theft By Finding (summer 2017).

“Playwright, author, radio star, and retired elf David Sedaris may be the most brilliantly witty New Yorker since Dorothy Parker.” – New York Magazine


November 17 – December 31

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday at 8:00 PM
Saturday at 8:30 PM
Sunday at 6 PM

Thursday, November 16 at 8pm
Friday, November 17 at 8pm
Saturday, November 18 at 8:30pm
Sunday, November 19 at 6pm
Tuesday, November 21 at 8pm
Wednesday, November 22 at 8pm
Friday, November 24 at 8pm
Saturday, November 25 at 8:30pm
Sunday, November 26 at 6pm
Wednesday, November 29 at 8pm
Thursday, November 30 at 8pm
Friday, December 1 at 8pm
Saturday, December 2 at 8:30pm
Sunday, December 3 at 6pm
Tuesday, December 5 at 8pm
Wednesday, December 6 at 8pm
Thursday, December 7 at 8pm
Friday, December 8 at 8pm
Saturday, December 9 at 8:30pm
Sunday, December 10 at 6pm
Tuesday, December 12 at 8pm
Wednesday, December 13 at 8pm
Thursday, December 14 at 8pm
Friday, December 15 at 8pm
Saturday, December 16 at 6pm & 8:30pm
Sunday, December 17 at 6pm
Tuesday, December 19 at 8pm
Wednesday, December 20 at 8pm
Thursday, December 21 at 8pm
Friday, December 22 at 8pm
Saturday, December 23 at 6pm & 8:30pm
Sunday, December 24 at 6pm
Tuesday, December 26 at 8pm
Wednesday, December 27 at 8pm
Thursday, December 28 at 8pm
Friday, December 29 at 8pm
Saturday, December 30 at 8:30pm
Sunday, December 31 at 6pm



General Admission
Tickets start at $25*
Upgrade to VIP for $15. VIP tickets include reserved seating and a complimentary holiday beverage. Platinum VIP tickets are available for $100 and include front-row cocktail table seating, complimentary holiday beverages and scrumptuous treats.

Group pricing is available for parties of 10+. Groups of 10-24 receive $3 off the general admission ticket price. Groups of 25+ receive $5 off the general admission ticket price. VIP upgrades are available for $15 per ticket. Call 404.584.7450 for more information.

See SANTALAND for FREE! Become a Horizon Theatre Usher!
Click here to email us. Include date(s) on which you’d like to usher.

*Ticket prices are subject to change. Buy early for best pricing. 8.9% sales fees will be added to all ticket orders. Internet convenience fee added to all online orders. No refunds, exchanges, or late seating.


Crumpet: Topher Payne
Sidekicks: Lala Cochran & Enoch King*
Female Sidekick Understudy: Marcie Millard

Creative team

Playwright – David Sedaris

Director – Jeff Adler

Scenic and Costume Designers – Isabel A. Curley-Clay & Moriah Curley-Clay

Lighting Designer – Mary Parker

Sound Designer – Thom Jenkins

Costume Designer – Cole Spivia

Prop Designers – Kathryn Muse

Stage Manager – Julianna M. Lee*


“Santaland spikes Holiday cheer with delicious edge…A theatergoers delight!”Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“A fiendishly exhilarating, politically incorrect send-up of the holidays.”Creative Loafing

The Santaland Diaries is acerbic and totally just for adults. Oh, and it’s hilarious. The Horizon Theatre is a professional theater that’s been serving up plays to the Atlanta community since 1983. It resides in Little Five Points and probably has some stories to tell about the quirky neighborhood. We saw the Santaland Diaries on a cold night, so I was thrilled when I walked up to the concession stand and saw “hot chocolate with cheer” on the menu. I don’t know what kind of cheer went into that hot chocolate but it warmed me up, and the sweet, chocolatey concoction was delightful.

The most surprising tidbit of the play was that it’s basically a one-man show. Our lead man, an unemployed writer who takes on the alter ego of Crumpet the Elf, gives us the scoop on what it’s like to work in Macy’s during the throes of Christmas. The supporting cast does a fantastic job of taking on different characters relying mostly on facial expressions and body language. I’m not sure I’ll ever look at a mall Santaland the same way again!

The show is 90 minutes straight through, but you won’t even notice the lack of intermission and if you’re like me, you’ll feel a little bummed when it’s over.  Crumpet pulls you into his zany world and you won’t want to leave.
—The Cardigan Kitchen


Harold M. Leaver (Crumpet) talks about The Santaland Diaries 
Topher Payne is the new Christmas elf in ‘Santaland Diaries’
Atlanta Actor Topher Payne Gets Elf Actualized For ‘Santaland Diaries’

Audience Buzz

The Santaland Diaries is without doubt one of the funniest shows around!”

“Hilarious. I laughed the entire time!”

“Two thumbs up!”

“It was fabulous. Just what was needed for the stressful holidays, a lot of laughs!”

“It has become one of my favorite holiday memories now!”

“I loved it. I laughed until I had a headache.”