by: Sandi Durell
Last season’s Tony Nominee, A Christmas Story the Musical (based on the delicious original 1983 Jean Shepherd holiday film) with book by Joseph Robinette and music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, is back with most of the original cast romping across the vast stage at Madison Square Garden having the time of their lives, where almost 5000 seats are filled nightly delighting family audiences.
Opening night, December 12th, proved to be bigger and better, the cast tighter and more self-assured as this heart warming and comically clever production features Dan Lauria (as Jean Shepherd) narrator, with a new Ralphie Parker (Jake Lucas) going through his antics to realize his dream Christmas present – a Red Ryder BB Gun. Mom (the lovely voiced Erin Dilly) and school teacher Miss Shields (a zany and humorous Caroline O’Connor) strongly disagree, Miss Shields and the kids in a rip roaring song and dance spectacle – “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out.”
The Old Man – as Dad is called (played by the wonderful John Bolton who is reminiscent of loose limbed Ray Bolger), is caught up in winning a contest: his prize – the famous leg lamp that proudly sits on a window ledge of their living room (“The Genius on Cleveland Street,” “A Major Award”).
Also new to the cast is adorable Noah Baird, who plays Ralphie’s younger brother Randy, and returning is dance sensation little Luke Spring who is back wowing the audience with his wondrous dance maneuvers, even tapping on tippy toes as a little mobster.
The cast is stacked with talent of all ages; the musical numbers funny and poignant – “Ralphie to the Rescue!” a Western dream sequence where Ralphie saves the day and the ladies with his Red Ryder BB Gun; and lest we forget, the Bumpus Hounds who run in and out of the Parker household causing havoc to the Old Man.
A Christmas Story the Musical is a gem of a holiday show that tours the country each year and should be first on everyone’s holiday show list.
The zippy choreography is by Warren Carlyle and right-on direction by John Rando. The fabulous costumes can be credited to Elizabeth Hope Clancey; set design Walt Spangler and lighting by Howell Binkley.
http://www.theateratmsg.com/achristmasstory thru December 29th
*video/photos – Magda Katz