The Wal-Mart Christmas Musical

Art lovers like to revisit their holiday favorites at this time of year.  Ballet enthusiasts flock to The Nutcracker and classical music lovers go to Handel’s Messiah.

Me?  I’m a musical theater buff.  Last weekend I caught my favorite show – perhaps you’ve seen it?  If not, there’s just one more week for you to catch a local performance of this holiday classic…

The Wal-Mart Christmas Musical

Thanks to People of Wal-Mart for the raw footage.

Thanks to People of Wal-Mart for the raw footage.

The entire play takes place in a Super Wal-Mart.  It is Sunday afternoon during the busy, holiday shopping season.

Here’s the story in a nutshell:  Our heroine is a young ingenue who looks almost exactly like me.    She has been sprinkled with holiday cheer fairy dust and sent on a quest in the Land of Wal-Mart.  She must find another strand of the same brand of lights she bought last year, to finish the string dangling 1 foot short of the bottom of her Christmas tree.  Then she must get checked out and back to her car before the fairy dust wears off and she turns into a mean, bitchy old crone.

The show opened with Miley Cyrus’ spiritual performance of “I’d Rather Be Naughty, So $&%# You, Santa!”  In honor of the season, she updated her usual bra-and-panty costume with a sprig of mistletoe, strategically placed.  As for Miley’s dance routine, let’s just say I will never look at a humble candy-cane the same way again.

Next up, one of the female leads (imaginatively costumed in skin-tight black stretch pants and a shirt cut low enough to reveal a pair of angels tattooed on the upper slopes of her ample…er, charms,)  softly crooned a simple ballad to the 5 ragged children gathered around her cart: ” I TOLD You 20 Times!”  The chorus went something like this:
“I TOLD you 20 times you gotta be 8 years old before Santa will bring you “Call of Duty, Black Ops.”  I’m going to have your daddy (Rodney, that guy whose staying with us and kinda like your daddy) WHUP YOUR A** if you ask me ONE more time!”

I wasn’t the only one who left the show humming THAT moving tune.

The children’s choir almost stole the show with their rousing hit, “I Want THAT!”   The lyric was not complicated – only “I Want THAT”, over and over – but the performance elevated the words to art.  The volume of their childish cries built and built to a mighty crescendo.  The number ended with the whole choir falling to the floor in the aisles, kicking its collective heels.  Unforgettable.

The Greeter’s Gospel Choir’s  a-Capella rendition of “Go Tell It On The Mountain (The Holidays Are Here)” had everyone clapping along.   The reworked lyrics explained in an uplifting, catchy way how if the store employees said “Merry Christmas” at the door, it would be the same as forcing shoppers to join a church and submit to full-immersion baptism just to get in the store.  Entertaining and really thought provoking.

But the showstopper was the big production number finale.

I took a couple of dance classes as a kid, so I’m familiar with steps like the flap-ball-change.  But I’ve never seen the moves the Wal-Mart Shoppers Dance Troupe perfected for this extravaganza, a routine they call the Oblivious Shuffle.

Each shopper/dancer leaned on his or her cart and pushed it slowly, oh so slowly, back and forth across the stage.  Their shuffling gate kept one shoe (or house slipper, as the case may be) on the floor at all times.  The shuffling feet made a “shush, shush” sound that underscored the “squeak, squeak” of their unoiled cart wheels.  The occasional crash of colliding carts played like cymbals in the composition.

About half of the dancers had cell phones pressed to their ears.  One at a time, each burst into song with lyrics like “…so that witch my baby-daddy is with now said they couldn’t take the kids on Christmas Eve and I told HER, if you think I’m going to pick them up on HIS weekend, you can just tell that &%$#…” Their solos were incomprehensible, one-sided conversations when taken by themselves.  Together, they wove a timeless Christmas story.

The dancers went through their movements with vacant, glassy stares that gave the illusion that they were totally unaware of everyone else around them.

Think of Night of the Living Dead as a ballet.

Meanwhile, the young ingenue wove her cart skillfully in and out of the shuffling throng, trying to get to the registers.   The checkers each turned their lights off as she approached, crying “price check on 10″, “change needed on 5″, “register frozen on 8“ in a surprisingly harmonious medley.  The audience held their breath when a determined shopper with 2 carts piled high cut in front of our heroine in the “15 items or less” lane, but there was no crash – it was all part of the show.

I don’t want to give away the ending in case you decide to see the show.  Suffice it to say our ingenue bore a marked resemblance to the apple-wielding hag in Snow White as she trudged to the car with her packages at the end.


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82 Responses to The Wal-Mart Christmas Musical

  1. Hasn’t anyone told that lady that kids shouldn’t stand in the cart?

    “Think of Night of the Living Dead as a ballet.”—Love this!

  2. Al says:

    Finally, something to give “The Nutcracker” some competition for a Tony award. However, I think it should be called “The Ballbuster.”

    • pegoleg says:

      And it just so happens that Wal-Mart is running a special on Ballbusters this week – don’t forget to pick up a couple for that special someone on your list, Al.

  3. Elyse says:

    Lord save us from what we have become.

    • pegoleg says:

      I especially loved the lady with the angel tattoos. I’m not making this up. She had that painting of the 2 cherubs leaning on the wall tattooed, full size, on the top of her MORE than full size chest. Her scoop=neck t shirt was cut half=way down what should have been private real estate so we could all admire the artwork. Yeeps.

      • Elyse says:

        I hope to be able to see some of these folks when they are our age. She’s going to have to add red tails to those cherubs because as her body sags they will turn into long pointy demons!

        I saw a beautiful young woman with a hummingbird tattoo’d on her breast. By the time she is my age it will look like a turkey vulture.

  4. thegirlwiththeeyetattoo1 says:

    That was simply brilliant! Thank you! :)

  5. I think I will wait until the New Year to catch this performance. After your review I’m sure it will be impossible to get tickets.

  6. Thank you , Peg, for once again bringing us the true spirit of Christmas. Amen.

  7. PinotNinja says:

    Hahahaha! I love this, especially the Miley cameo, so much that I don’t know what to do with myself.

  8. lisaspiral says:

    You need to apply for a grant and produce this as one of those cable Lifetime Christmas series movies!

  9. mistyslaws says:

    But you made it out alive!! That right there is the best ending possible. Take a bow, Peg. YOU are the star of that show!

  10. dorannrule says:

    How have I ever missed this powerfully classic production? I will be looking for it from now until Christmas and hoping it will inspire me toward peace, harmony and joy. And by the way, this is the most hilarious post I have read in a long long time. It may be the most hilarious post I have ever read. Thank you!

  11. it would be funny if it weren’t true

  12. I am in tears of laughter. What has happened to us? What is wrong with us? This will soon be a classic, beating all the others at the box office. Peg you have a hit on your hands. Brava.

  13. The Cutter says:

    I used to go to Walmart on Christmas Eve, and was always disappointed that I didn’t see any scenes like this. It was almost a normal place.

  14. I’m smelling a Walmart shill above me. (The cutter)

    There is NO WAY Walmart is ever almost normal.

    Great, great post. Add my laughter to your chorus.

  15. mercyn620 says:

    A new Christmas classic to enjoy every year. When does the show make its Broadway debut!?

  16. Carrie Rubin says:

    Ha, this is genius! You’ve captured the horror that is a WalMart shopping experience beautifully. Why must people talk on their cell phones while they shop? I was getting stocking stuffers in Target the other day and saw a woman talking on her phone, completely ignorant of the aisles she was blocking or the people she almost plowed over. Every time I crossed paths with her she was still on her phone. I sure hope it was the President she was talking to for how important it seemed.

    Terrific post! Loved this line: “before the fairy dust wears off and she turns into a mean, bitchy old crone.” :)

    • pegoleg says:

      Oh, the “my phone call is more important than anything” people. Don’t you love them? What REALLY frosts my cookies is when they are on the road, driving too slowly, cutting me off and just generally being big weenie/doofuses.

      Unfortunately, Carrie, I find the fairy dust wearing off all the time lately. Sigh.

  17. k8edid says:

    Peg, luv – that was spectacular. I will do almost anything to avoid Wally World. Ours has a cashier who has eyeliner that goes all the way to her hairline at the temples. It is truly a spectacular place – filled with wonderment. You have captured the essence of the setting, the spirit, and the, um, tawdryness that one used to have to go the bowling alley to see. I am so glad you made it out alive!

    • pegoleg says:

      It was close, Katy. I lived to tell about it, but was a wiser but sadder crone.

      I am avoiding Wally World like the plague for the rest of this merry, gift-giving season.

  18. Oh my God, Peg!!! You are a genius! I love it when I read something and find myself cracking up out loud! The line about the dancers on their cell phones, “…so that witch my baby-daddy is with now said they couldn’t take the kids on Christmas Eve and I told HER, if you think I’m going to pick them up on HIS weekend, you can just tell that &%$#…” really got me!! I have got to share this. I have never reblogged anyone else’s post but I must reblog this one! :)

    • pegoleg says:

      That is a (kinda/sorta) word for word replay of an actual conversation overheard at Wally World. I just cleaned it up some cuz this is a classy blog here-abouts.

      Thanks so much for the reblog – I’m flattered!

  19. Reblogged this on swimmingtomy50s and commented:
    Peg @ Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings is hilarious describing The Wal-Mart Christmas Musical! You have got to read this!

  20. While I enjoyed this summary, I don’t think I’d enjoy the show half as much. I think I can go without knowing the ending. :D

  21. Love the “Oblivious Shuffle”! It’s not just for Wal Mart shoppers. That is a move perfected by the tourists at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. :)

  22. Ahhhhhh! The cloud of revving engines, small pants holding large amounts of stuff, and labored breathing surrounding the shopping area that houses the local Walmart has become so heavy that I don’t feel safe going outside. Everyone gets cash this year!

  23. “the upper slopes of her ample charms”….bwa ha ha! Oh, Peg, this was a true holiday classic. I dread going to WalMart so much but I have an elderly mother who insists on making me take her there every week. God help me, I have to go again this weekend.

    • pegoleg says:

      I feel for you, Darla. Console yourself with the thought that taking your elderly mom to Wal-Mart the weekend before Christmas will surely earn many jewels for your heavenly crown.

  24. lexiemom says:

    “The reworked lyrics explained in an uplifting, catchy way how if the store employees said “Merry Christmas” at the door, it would be the same as forcing shoppers to join a church and submit to full-immersion baptism just to get in the store. Entertaining and really thought provoking.”
    Thought provoking indeed. I have seen this particular show at my local Wal-mart, but never appreciated the fullness of it’s societal impact until now.

    • pegoleg says:

      Yeah, those corporate decisions are not made lightly. I bet the topic is analyzed in corporate boardrooms all across our great nation at this time of year: to “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”, that is the question.

  25. Sandy Sue says:

    Ah, Peg. Once again you find such beauty and refinement at WalMart. The world needs your artistic eye.
    And I know you probably can’t see the ads that WordPress tags onto the end of the post, but appropriately enough, there was one for Irish whiskey when I strolled through. The perfect topper for such a performance!

    • pegoleg says:

      It’s in my WordPress contract that all ads must be for products I personally endorse. We have a revolving line up for booze and Little Debbie Snack Cakes around here, Sandy.

  26. Went to the intermission, and skipped the show when D1 and I got up at 3:30 to do some Christmas shopping together…her idea…let’s call it a formal invitation from her and the opportunity for a bonding experience for me…to enter her world. Next to no people there but…Gack…did you know that’s when they run the vacuum cleaners? If there was holiday music piped in through the ceiling…I never knew it…but like I said, it was intermission. Another brilliant piece. Wish I knew Matthew Broderick. I would definitely put in a word to a producer for you if I could.

    • pegoleg says:

      Funny…at my local production we usually sip champagne and eat caviar in the lobby during intermission. Must be different versions of the show.

      I’m glad you had the courage to experience this holiday classic, Georgette.

  27. omawarisan says:

    Oh dear god, the shuffle. I just want to scream at those people – “pick up your feet!!”

    • pegoleg says:

      That is an uber-peevy pet of mine, especially when performed by those in a retail/service capacity. I always yelled at my own teens when they did it, and longed for the power to be the universal mom instructing the rest of the world.

  28. Blogdramedy says:

    If this ever does go into production, I promise to get you your own Wal-Mart cart…with your name engraved on the kiddie seat. All plated in 100 per cent authentic fake gold filigree that is guaranteed to flake off after only one sitting.

  29. Fun and funny. I’d like to get my hands on some of that Christmas Cheer fairy dust. And use it to wish myself away from Wal-mart…”…dash away, dash away all…”

  30. Rhiannon says:

    A beautiful representation of today’s society. There is a reason I boycotted Christmas years ago. Well done!

  31. flyingplatypi says:

    I would totally pay to see this!



  32. Pleun says:

    Oh my, is it that time of the year again? I wish now I could see one of the local performances, wonder what that would look like here in Asia?? I never liked the Walmart when I had one, now I wish I had one. Since they underpay workers here anyway, I find it odd they haven’t made it to this continent yet.

    • pegoleg says:

      Isn’t it funny how the definition of “underpaid” depends on where you live? I joke about it, but imagine one would really miss the convenience of a Wal-Mart-type place for everyday living.

  33. Hilarious and sadly realistic.

    • pegoleg says:

      Most of this piece is real-life observation, like the lady with the angel tattoos on her boobies, screaming at her kids. Brings a tear to the eye, don’t it?

  34. L. Marie says:

    I agree with Susannah. Hilarious and realistic!!!

  35. Piper Bayard says:

    LMAO! You are incredibly talented and funny. Who would have thought that I could laugh like this about a trip to WalMart? Thank you for your take on the holidays. :)

  36. amelie88 says:

    I’m such a grinch so this post is basically how I feel throughout the holidays! Thanks for the giggle!

  37. snarksense says:

    I laughed out loud several times! Brilliant

  38. List of X says:

    I remember reading this before…. And yep, here it is, right on your sidebar!
    I’m just glad to know the show is still going strong after so many years.

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