Peter Billingsley, the former child actor who portrayed Ralphie Parker in the iconic film "A Christmas Story," is among the lead producers of the musical that has a score by Edges songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and a book by Joseph Robinette.
A Christmas Story, The Musical! debuted in an earlier incarnation in 2009 at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre. That production had a score by Scott Davenport Richards. It resurfaced last holiday season, with Pasek and Paul attached, for a run at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre.
The 2011 holiday tour will get new directorial perspective from director-choreographer Warren Carlyle, who staged Finian's Rainbow and A Tale of Two Cities on Broadway and choreographed the current Kennedy Center revival of Follies. Carlyle assumes duties previously handled by Erik Rosen and Kelly Devine (Rock of Ages) during the Kansas City and Seattle engagements.
The creative team will assemble in Hershey for technical rehearsals prior to an official Nov. 8 tour launch. A Christmas Story, The Musical! will play Hershey through 13; followed by Detroit, MI (Nov. 15-27 at the Fisher Theatre); Raleigh, NC (Nov. 29-Dec. 4 at the Memorial Auditorium); Tampa, FL (Dec. 6-11 at the Straz Center); and Chicago, IL (Dec. 14-30 at the Chicago Theatre).
Roy Miller, who is part of the Christmas Story producing team and also produced the revival of West Side Story and The Drowsy Chaperone on Broadway, said producers will use the tour as a barometer and are hopeful about a future life for the property beyond 2011. Much of the Seattle creative team will return for the tour, including Walt Spangler (scenic design), Elizabeth Hope Clancy (costume design), Larry Blank (orchestrations), Ian Eisendrath (musical direction) and Howell Binkley (lighting design). Dance arrangements are by August Eriksmoen.
The producing team also includes Gerald Goehring (Frankenstein: The Musical), Michael Mitri (Frankenstein: The Musical), Pat Addiss (Promises, Promises; Spring Awakening), Louise Beard, Richard Winkler, Mariano Tolentino, Dan Frishwasser, Tim Laczynski, Bartner/Jenkins Entertainment, Angela Milonas and Bradford W. Smith.
Based on the stories of radio humorist Jean Shepherd, the classic holiday story concerns Ralphie Parker, whose holiday wish is a Red Ryder 200 Shot Carbine Action Air Rifle. The 1940s-set comedy follows Ralphie through his holiday campaign for the gift of his dreams, complete with a visit to Santa at Higbee's Department Store, a racy lamp, the family's exploding furnace, an experiment with a wet tongue on a cold lamppost and more.
Casting has not been announced. A nation-wide casting call for young performers is expected to launch shortly via the official website for the production.