Decked out in a seersucker suit and Hillary Clinton T-shirt, actor Todd Waite is having a Cheers moment at Blacksmith cafe in Montrose. Every last barista and not just a few customers greet him by name. He’s been a resident actor at the Alley Theatre since 2000—appearing in productions from Stoppard to Shakespeare—and this month, he returns to the stage as crowd favorite Crumpet the elf in The Santaland Diaries, author David Sedaris’ laugh-out-loud account of working as Santa’s helper at Macy’s.
The handsome 6-foot-3 Canadian-born actor has starred in the one-man show eight times, when he first pulled on Crumpet’s striped tights and velvety green cap to take the stage as Sedaris’ sarcastic alter ego. But Waite is not complaining. “I would be happy to do this for 10 more years,” he says, beaming. “To do something people love is an honor.”
Living a balanced life, Blacksmith’s dill scramble, the new Buffalo Bayou park, golf, NBC’s The Voice
Cynicism, science deniers, letting feelings become more important
than thoughts, smoking, olives
In addition to performing, he teaches; coaches TED Talk participants, corporate speakers, writers and his fellow artists; and is adjunct faculty at University of Houston’s theater program. This year, he also returns to his behind-the-scenes role as creative director of the popular Christmas Village at Bayou Bend.
Not that anybody is going to forget Crumpet, though.
“I’m a little like Sally Field,” the actor says with a shrug. “She has, what, three Oscars? But she’ll always be known as the Flying Nun. With Santaland, it’s the same for me.”