By Steve Munson
Often we are too busy, distracted or cynical to enjoy the miracle of Christmas. A curmudgeonly hotel manager completely misses it. Note: This is a fun holiday skit that can involve a mixed cast of children and adults - or all kids - but the part of the hotel Manager requires more skill at both memorization and characterization to carry the skit.
Hotel Manager - a loveable old curmudgeon
His Wife - a dumpy-looking woman with an attitude
Joseph - a desperate husband
Mary - his pregnant wife
Joe the Camel - a bellhop
Assorted Angels - as many as you wish (great for little children)
(Setting: Lobby of a dumpy hotel; entrance stage right; optional exit door stage left. A sign reads, "Bethlehem Grand Hotel." A elderly manager, cantankerous but loveable, Brooklyn accent, stands behind the front desk, on which there are 2 old fashioned phones and a guest register. One phone rings. He answers.)
Manager: Hello? "Grand Hotel. High class rooms for low class people." Oh, hello, Morty. What's new? No. Nahhhhh. Nothin' ever happens here. Well, we're very busy, that's all. What with tax season, we're all filled up. (the other phone buzzes.) Just a minute. (he puts down one phone and picks up the other) Hello, front desk. Oh, hello Room 48. What do you want? Room service? No. No. Look, this is not the Waldorf. (pause) It's four flights up. You want I should break my neck?
(Enter Joseph and Mary, poor and dusty from traveling. They both wear halos. Joseph carries 2 heavy bags. Mary is very pregnant, walking slowly and supporting her back. She looks like she is going into labor.)
Manager: Okay, okay. I'll make you a deal. For 10 drachmas, I'll send up five beautiful dancing girls and a ten course meal. (pause) For three drachmas? For three drachmas my wife will tap dance with a casserole. (hangs up. Calling to wife offstage) Oh, looootus blossom!
(Joseph steps up to desk)
Manager: What, are you lost?
Joseph: We have a reservation.
Manager: I'll be the judge of that.
(Manager's wife emerges. A large, dumpy woman in bathrobe and fuzzy slippers, with a New York attitude, chewing gum.)
Manager: (reaches under desk, hands her a pair of tapshoes). Room 48 wants the big chicken number. Only hold back a little at the end. They were very rude.
(She sighs and exits muttering)
Manager: (picks up phone) You still holding, Morty? (puts phone down) (to Joseph) What's the reservation under?
Joseph: Ben-Heli, Yosef ben-Heli.
Manager: Ben-Heli? What's that, a name?
Manager: Myron Plotznick. Now, that's name! Elvis Takomopoulos. There's another one.
(house phone buzzes again)
Manager: Just a minute (picks up phone) Front desk. Hellooo, Room 88. How's the weather up there? Running water? (surprised) Really? Where'd you get it? Oh, you want some. A shower? No. No, look. I couldn't get water up there if we shot it out of a cannon. Well, just stick your head out the window and pray for rain. (offended) Oh yeah? (hangs up abruptly) (To Joseph) That's the trouble with people today -- they got no faith. (picks up other phone) You still hangin' in there, Morty? (puts it down) (To Joseph) What was that name again?
Joseph: Ben-Heli, Yosef ben-Heli.
Manager: (consulting register) "Ben-Heli, ben-Heli." Hey, you any relation to Ben-Hur?
Manager: Well, if you see him, tell him he's left his chariot parked in a loading zone for about a month now. I'm a patient man, but there's a limit. Ben-Heli, ben-Heli. Okay, you want the bad news first?
Joseph: You mean there's bad news and good news?
Manager: No. There's bad news and worse news. First of all, you have no reservation. And second, we're booked solid until after Passover. It's a busy time, what with Caesar in town.
Joseph: (impressed) Caesar? You mean, Augustus?
Manager: No. Sid. He's playing at the Palace. Two drachma dinner. It's a good show.
Joseph: Couldn't you find us something? My wife's going into labor.
Manager: Listen, kid. You think you got labor problems? 88 beds I got, and you think I can keep a maid. Everyone wants something for nothing. Try again after the holidays.
(Joseph motions the manager closer and, pointing to Mary, whispers something in his ear)
Manager: She's gonna have what?!!
(Joseph continues to whisper)
Manager: (cynically) Riiiiight. And I'm really Moses. I just shaved the beard 'cause it kept getting caught in my zipper.
(Joseph returns discouraged to Mary, who is not happy. They talk silently)
Manager: (picks up phone) You still there, Morty? Hold onto your gallbladder 'cause this you won't believe.
(Joseph returns to the desk for another sally)
Manager: (to Joseph) What, again?
Joseph: Look, we've come all the way from Nazareth. You must have something.
Manager: (pretending to brighten) Oh, are you from Nazareth?
Joseph: (hopeful) Yes!
Manager: (darkly cynical) What is that, a town?
Joseph: Yes. In Galilee.
Manager: Oh yeah. I had an uncle from Galilee.
Manager: Yeah. He was stepped on by a camel. You know what his last words were to me?
(Joseph shakes his head, wondering what this has to do with anything)
Manager: "Get this cockamamie camel off me!" (laughs) Sorry, kid, you walked into that one.
Joseph: Please, sir, show some pity.
Manager: Okay, okay. Stop it. You're breaking my heart. I'll tell you what, kid. I'll tell you what. I like you. You're a pain in the backside, but I like you. You got moxie. And you're a clean-cut kid. Probably even a little religious. You should see some of the losers that come in here. I'll make you an offer. Stand back, you're gonna love this. For two drachmas… I'll put you in our first-class stable suite next to the camels.
Joseph: A stable?
Manager: A stable is nice. A little straw. Some cattle lowing in the background. It's very soothing.
Joseph: Oh, I don't know about camels. I've heard they spit.
Manager: Well, if that's all they do, kid, you're a lucky man!
Mary: (going into labor) Honey!
Joseph: Okay, okay. We'll take it.
Manager: A wise man. Sign here. (hands him a pen to sign register). That'll be two drachmas… in advance.
(Joseph begins to dig for coins. Manager eyes him suspiciously).
Manager: No plastic, please.
(Joseph hands him two silver coins)
Manager: Thank you. Now, I'll put you in the very capable hands of our head camel. (rings bell) Hey, Joe!
(enter boy dressed in camel-colored clothing, with hump)
Joseph: You're a camel?
Joe: Yeah, whaddya think I am with this hump? Richard the Third?
(Joe picks up their bags and leads them out)
Manager: (shakes his head, picks up phone). Morty, you there? Wait'll you hear this one. (turns toward exit to make sure they're gone). Young couple come in. No reservation. Wife is about to give birth any minute. Husband tells me - are you ready? - it's gonna be the Messiah? What am I running here? I got a guy on the third floor thinks he's Alexander the Great. An 85-year-old woman who does the Dance of the Seven Veils. And some joker who walks around in the altogether thinking he's Adam and this is the Garden of Eden. (pause) I know, I should have had him arrested, but he keeps the grass nice. Some people have a green thumb, what can I say?
(A large band of angels walk past the front desk and out the back door toward the stable. Manager barely notices. The house phone buzzes).
Manager: Oh, what is it now? Just a minute. (puts down phone, picks up house phone). Front desk. Who's this? The stable? Well, what do you want? Hot water and towels? Say, what am I, a Turkish bath? Oh, the baby. No, there's no midwife here. (hangs up. Picks up other phone) Midwife, schmidwife. Morty, these kids today give me a pain. In my day the wife is out in the field. Oo! A pain. And pffft! The kid is out and picking olives. It's a beautiful thing. (Looks over his shoulder toward the stable exit.) Wait a minute. (puts down phone, leaves desk and stands in doorway. Yelling at angels off stage.) Hey! Hey!! You with the wings! Stay off the lawn! (returns to desk. Picks up phone). You still there, Morty? I know, I know. Well, look, the world is going to heck in a handbasket. Whaddya gonna do?
(we suddenly hear loud angelic music offstage-"Gloria in excelsis deo… etc.")
Manager: (having trouble hearing Morty over the noise) Wait a minute. What? What? I can't -- hold on. (puts down phone, leaves desk, slams back door. Music stops abruptly. Returns to desk and phone.) I'm back. What? Oh those darn kids and their music today. You know how it is. They like everything loud.
(Enter a band of shepherds, very dirty and dressed in rags)
Manager: (sighs impatiently) Hold on again, Morty. (to shepherds) What?
Shepherd 1: Have you seen a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a feeding trough?
Manager: (pause, takes long look at the audience as though "You've got to be kidding.") No. No, that I would remember.
Shepherd 2: Well, did a band of angels come through here?
Shepherd 3: Yeah, a company of the heavenly host?
Manager: No, look. I'm the only host around here, and I'm asking you politely to leave. The way you boys are smelling, your company is less than heavenly. Say, don't you shepherds ever bathe?
(They exit. He mutters and sprays a can of air freshener.)
Manager: Ooof! Shepherds!
(Enter Three Wise Men with great dignity, bearing gifts)
Wiseman 1: We're looking for the one born King of the Jews. Do you know where we can find him?
Manager: (losing patience) Say, what is this, a quiz show?
(They exit with pomp through back door toward the stable, leaving the door open. We can hear angels still singing.)
Manager: (picks up phone) What? No. Ehhhhh, just a bunch of wise guys. Just a minute. (puts phone down, walks toward door to shut it. Yells out.) Hey! If that's my manger, there's gonna be trouble! (slams door, returns to desk, and pauses with a sigh) Some Grand Hotel. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens. (picks up phone) Morty, you still there?
(Entire company can return to sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" or other Christmas song.)
Copyright 2000 by Steve Munson, all rights reserved.
This script may be used without royalty payment, provided no charge is made for admission to the performance. In return the author would like to be told of any performance. He may be contacted at: email@example.com