Late radio personality and writer Shepherd served as the narrator and co-author of the 1983 film "A Christmas Story," which is based on his own stories. The character of Shepherd, who narrates the tale for audiences, is a non-singing role.
Lauria is best known for his work on TV's "The Wonder Years." The 2010 production of Lombardi marked his Broadway debut.
"Theatre is my great love, so making my Broadway debut in Lombardi was a dream come true. But I never expected to return to Broadway in a musical," Lauria said in a statement. "Luckily for the audience, it's a non-singing role! I'm a classic movie buff and A Christmas Story is a favorite of mine as it is for many others and I am excited to be part of this marvelous stage adaptation."
Additional casting will be announced shortly. The musical is still searching for a young actor to star as Ralphie.
A Christmas Story, which has a score by Richard Rodgers Award-winning Dogfight songwriters Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, launched a five-city U.S. tour last holiday season and was warmly embraced by critics nationwide. The score includes such songs as "Red Ryder," "Ralphie to the Rescue," "A Major Award" and "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out." Joseph Robinette authored the book. A Christmas Story will begin previews Nov. 5 towards a Nov. 19 Broadway opening at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. The engagement is scheduled through Dec. 30.
Much of that original touring creative team will repeat their work for the Broadway run, including Tony-winning director John Rando (Urinetown) and Tony-nominated choreographer Warren Carlyle (Chaplin, Follies, An Evening With Hugh Jackman).
According to producers, "In 1940's Indiana, a bespectacled boy named Ralphie has a big imagination and one wish for Christmas—a Red Ryder BB Gun. A kooky leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a cranky department store Santa, and a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the obstacles that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas dream. A Christmas Story, The Musical! is holiday entertainment that captures a simpler time in America with delicious wit and a heart of gold."