NEJC natives send up Christmas in suburbia with ‘A Prairie Village Christmas Companion’

Kelly Werts (from left), Robert Brand, David Martin and Valerie Martin went through a final rehearsal of "A Prairie Village Christmas Companion" at the home of Jeanne Murphy on Sunday.
Kelly Werts (from left), Robert Brand, David Martin and Valerie Martin went through a final rehearsal of “A Prairie Village Christmas Companion” at the home of Jeanne Murphy on Sunday.

A group of performers with deep northeast Johnson County ties has set its sights on the silliness of Christmas in the suburbs with a new production set to debut this Friday.

In 2012, Prairie Village resident Jeanne Murphy was the producer of “A Prairie Village Home Companion,” a Fringe Festival production that used the format of Garrison Keillor’s long-running public radio program “A Prairie Home Companion” to poke fun at Kansas City suburbia.

Earlier this year, Murphy teamed up with collaborator Pam Gregory and a group of actors and musicians they’d worked with on past productions to develop a new Christmas application of the technique. “A Prairie Village Christmas Companion” will run Friday through Sunday at the Buffalo Room in Westport.

Prairie Village native siblings Dave and Valerie Martin helped write the piece, and said there was plenty of fodder to work with.

“One of my favorite sketches deals with the political correctness that surrounds ‘the holidays’ anymore,” Valerie said. “You can’t just have ‘Christmas.’”

The show also includes a series of comedic musical numbers, with musicians Pam Gregory and Fairway resident Kelly Werts performing sure-to-be-hits like “The Lonely Fruitcake Carol.”

The Martins, who act in the performance along with Robert Brand, said that while a familiarity with Keillor and “Prairie Home Companion” would be useful to getting the humor of some of the sketches, the performance is intended to stand on its own.

“You don’t have to be familiar with the source material,” Valerie said. “And you don’t have to live in Prairie Village to understand the humor of making fun of Johnson County and Kansas.”

Performances will be 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.