Beloved Holiday Classic A Christmas Story coming to the Studio Theatre
If you want to see an adult’s eyes open wide with delight, just mention the movie A Christmas Story. It’s so popular, and so well loved, that one American TV network has been airing “24 Hours of A Christmas Story” — that’s 12 consecutive showings of the film — each Christmas since 1997. For millions of people, a family viewing of this classic film is a Holiday tradition.
So what is it about this story of Ralphie and his yearning for a Red Ryder BB gun (you know, “the Carbine Action one, the 200-shot model with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time”) that strikes such a cord? It’s a simple story about dreams, those special Christmas dreams we all had as kids, so timeless, so charming, and so beautifully rendered by the story’s creator, Jean Shepherd.
Just in time for this year’s Christmas dreams, the stage version of A Christmas Story premieres at the Studio Theatre on November 30th, adapted by Philip Grecian from Jean Shepherd’s enduring stories about his Midwest childhood. Patricia Parry, director of the Studio Theatre’s production of the play, has seen the way people react to this much-loved story, and she’s thrilled to be able to bring it to Perth.
“I’ve met so many people who watch the movie year after year, and know the story of Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB gun inside and out” she says. “The play is very faithful to the film — when Philip Grecian adapted Jean Shepherd’s story for the stage he knew he had to retain all the things people love about it. His script is simply wonderful.”
Don’t think for a moment that if you’re not familiar with the movie you won’t enjoy the play. This is a story that anyone who was a kid will relate to:
Ralphie Parker wants a Red Ryder BB gun so badly he can taste it. And although everybody — his parents, his teacher, and even the department store Santa Claus — has told him he’ll “put his eye out with that thing” he hopes against hope that he’ll find it under the tree on Christmas morning.
Will his dream come true? We can’t help wishing fervently, for Ralphie’s sake, that it will. Along the way there are schoolyard bullies, pink bunny suits, family squabbles, finicky furnaces, dog-scarfed turkeys, and all the makings of a well-rounded, family friendly comedy, culminating in, you bet, a happy ending.
Director Parry has assembled a great cast to tell this beloved story, with ages ranging from 4 to the 60s. Sam Brown plays young Ralphie, while veteran character actor Grey Masson is grown up Ralph, and Carell Allen plays Ralphie’s mother. Well known local actor Jerry Logan plays “The Old Man” (young Ralphie’s father), and Deb Ward is Miss Shields, Ralphie’s teacher. Jamie Graham plays Schwartz, Hunter Rigby is Flick, Addison Brown is Helen, Maeve Elliot plays Esther Jane, and Caine Elliot and Anthony Nelson share the role of Randy, Ralphie’s younger brother. Lots of young talent, eager to bring a great story to the stage.
Behind the scenes, Penny Silberhorn is Stage Manager, ably assisted by Annie Mulligan; Reiner Silberhorn is Set Designer and Builder; Paula Batt handles Props, Mike Ward Lighting, Julia Egener is the show’s Costumer, and Isabel Joyce is the Producer.
A Christmas Story premieres at the Studio Theatre on November 30th for seven performances, Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and 8 at 7:30 pm and Dec. 2, 3, 9 and 10 at 2 pm. (PLEASE NOTE: For this production, both Saturday shows are 2 pm matinees.) Advance tickets are $24, and are now available exclusively at Tickets Please in the Matheson House Museum Visitor Centre, 11 Gore St. E. (613 485-6434; ticketsplease.ca) which accepts in-store, phone, online and credit card purchases. Tickets are $24 at the Studio Theatre box office on show nights.
SPECIAL CHILDREN’S ADVANCE TICKET PRICE of just $10 for kids under 12. Rush tickets for Students with ID are just $10 at the door, subject to availability. Attend opening night and save $5!
If you’re already familiar with A Christmas Story, you’ll enjoy the Studio Theatre’s fresh take on a classic. And if you haven’t yet discovered it, come see why millions of people love this timeless tale of family and the power of dreams. It could become a favourite part of your Christmas, too.
The faces of A Christmas Story: Left to right are Jamie Graham (Schwartz), Sam Brown (Ralphie), Caine Elliot (Randy 2). Anthony Nelson (Randy 1). Behind Anthony is Deb Ward (Miss Shields) Carell Allen (Ralphie’s Mother) Grey Masson (grown up Ralph), Hunter Rigby (Flick), Addison Brown (Helen), and Maeve Elliot (Esther Jane). Missing is Jerry Logan (The Old Man).
Article by Paul Joyce / Photo by Bruce Raby