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Making a deal with the devil

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By Special to the Monitor

The Los Alamos Little Theatre kicks off the New Year with a brand new show: “The Devil and Daniel Webster” by Stephen Vincent Benet, the 20th-century Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, novelist and short-story author. The show is coupled with the premiere of “Yogurt Security,” local playwright Robert F. Benjamin’s and Elaine Jarvik’s 10-minute satire on life in Los Alamos and travel under the latest TSA regulations. “The Devil and Daniel Webster” preserves much of the text of Benet’s 1937 short story of the same name because the author himself adapted it into a script for Douglas Moore’s 1938 folk opera. The Little Theatre uses the Benet script sans Douglas Moore’s music. Instead, the production uses devil-themed olios to maintain the theater’s traditional January show composition. A local trio performs “The Devil Went down to Georgia,” among other offerings, says olio coordinator Sheila Schiferl.Many know the classic German legend of Faust who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for a life of fame and fortune. Over the years this tale has formed the basis of numerous literary, artistic, musical and even cinematic works by such notable as Christopher Marlowe, Goethe, Thomas Mann, Hector Berlioz, Franz Liszt, Oscar Wilde, William Gaddis, Carol Ann Duffy and Charles Gounod.