Brüka Theater by Grant Wesley

The show must go on with Christmas with the Crawfords

A Star-Studded Hollywood Christmas Eve With Joan & The Family runs select dates in December at Brüka Theatre

Brüka Theatre presents Mark Sargent and Richard Winchester’s Christmas with the Crawfords, which is also called “Mommie Dearest, the Musical with a Holiday Theme,” originated at the Theatre Rhinoceros in San Francisco.

Christmas with the Crawfords takes place on Christmas Eve, 1944, and Joan has recently been “fired” from MGM because they consider her “box office poison.” Ms. Crawford is up for the lead in the Warner Bros. film Mildred Pierce, but horror upon horror, she must take a screen test first. Joan needs to rebuild her public relations, so her friend Hedda Hopper decides to broadcast her live show from the star’s Brentwood mansion with Joan and kids in tow.

During the live broadcast, celebrity visitors like Katherine Hepburn and Mae West, who apparently have lost their way en route to the big Gary Cooper party next door, come dropping in at the house. The legendary story of Joan Crawford began life in 1992 in an old converted fire department horse barn and subsequently has had packed houses in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle. The 90-minute campy musical played at the Chelsea Playhouse in New York in November 2001, where it was nominated for a Drama Desk award. America’s premiere drag comedienne/singer Hedda Lettuce was originally the epitome of a creepy Joan with a mile high ’40s style black wig. Mark Sargent originated the Ethel Merman role.

CHRISTMAS WITH THE CRAWFORDS runs approximately 90 minutes. Evening shows begin at 7:30 pm. The Sunday matinees begin at 2:00 pm. The matinee on December 17 is followed by a talkback with the company and audience. The doors open a half an hour before curtain time.

ADVISORY: Christmas With The Crawfords is suitable for ages 16 and up. Mature Themes.


RESERVATIONS: In person or by phone through the Brüka Box Office (775) 323-3221. Online at or at the Melting Pot World Emporium @ their location: 1049 S. Virginia Street, Reno. Our box office is open Thursdays through Saturdays. From 3-6 PM and Wednesdays by appointment.

PARKING: Court Street parking lot across from The Pioneer Theater. Free after 5:00 PM weekdays and no charge on weekends. We validate 5-hour parking at the Parking Gallery on First and Sierra Street. Fee is $1 for the first 5 hours and $3 for every additional hour.

About Brüka Theatre

Brüka Theatre is entering its 31st season of live theatre in downtown Reno. Brüka’s theme for the 2023/2024 season is: “Thirty Wonderful – The Show Must Go On.” A full season of live theatre with season tickets and season auditions. As an artistic leader in the region, Brüka is recognized for innovative productions, exceptionally talented artists and acclaimed Theatre for Children touring series since its founding in 1992. Central to Brüka is the commitment to the re-investigation of contemporary and classic plays and developing new plays within Brüka’s Artistic Collective, a group that includes winners of the Nevada Arts Council and Sierra Arts Foundation artist grants and nine local best actor honors. Brüka was named “Best Theatre Company” by Reno News and Review for twenty-one years. Brüka is a constituent company of TCG (Theatre Communications Group). Brüka Theatre has produced over 200 shows in our downtown Reno location. Sign up for our newsletter by going to our website at

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