Based on the stories of radio humorist Jean Shepherd, the irreverent 1983 flick set in the 1940s follows young Ralphie Parker, whose only wish for Christmas is a Red Ryder 200 Shot Carbine Action Air Rifle. A standard on television every December (TBS plays the film for 24 straight hours on Christmas Day), the film is responsible for bringing such images as a pink bunny costume and a tacky leg lamp into the yuletide culture.
So popular is the film that the Cleveland home where it was shot has been turned into A Christmas Story House Museum, offering guided tours and displaying original props and costumes. There is even a gift shop where visitors may purchase their very own Leg Lamp or any number of souvenir items inspired by the movie.
It seemed only a matter of time before so popular a work made its way to the stage. Philip Grecian's theatrical adaptation (which has run in Cleveland every year since 2005) made its company debut at Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and Utah's Pioneer Theatre Company this season. In all three cases, A Christmas Story has broken box office records.
The Grecian work having paved the way, Kansas City Rep is the first to produce the brand new musical theatre adaptation. A Christmas Story, The Musical! premiered Nov. 20 and has, once again, shattered company box office records. Now being touted as "The Most Popular Show in the Rep's History," the show has extended through Jan. 3, 2010, and is aiming for a 2010 Broadway bow.
Composer Scott Davenport Richards and librettist by Joseph Robinette have penned a score that includes such titles as "Getting Ready for Christmas," "Take That!," "I Won (A Major Award)," "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!," "Ho, Ho, Ho!," "I'm Awake," "On Christmas, We Go Eat Chinese" and "There Must Be Something We've Forgotten."
Kansas City Rep has released a promotional video, providing a glimpse of what Broadway audiences just may see next Christmas.