Original "Ralphie" Becomes Producer of A Christmas Story: The Musical!

By Adam Hetrick
01 Dec 2010

Peter Billingsley as "Ralphie"
Peter Billingsley as "Ralphie"
Photo by MGM

Peter Billingsley, the former child actor perhaps best known as Ralphie Parker in the iconic 1983 film "A Christmas Story," has signed on as a producer of the stage musical of the property, which is currently playing Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre.

Billingsley (who famously longed for a Red Ryder BB gun on screen) is hoping the musical has a life beyond the Seattle run, which will officially open Dec. 9 and run through Dec. 30. "''A Christmas Story has always meant a lot to me personally and to audiences worldwide," Billingsley said in a statement. "I’m excited to bring this film to the stage because the story and the characters lend themselves so well to the exciting ingredients that become available in the world of musicals. Just think about the idea of a Leg Lamp Kickline!"

In addition to his acting resume, Billingsley has focused on producing endeavors, including "Four Christmases," "Iron Man" and "The Break Up."

For the record, the 5th Avenue Theatre has served as the pre-Broadway stop for such musicals as Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can and Shrek. No future commercial plan has been announced for the show.



The producing team also includes Gerald Goehring and Michael Mitri, Roy Miller (The Pee-wee Herman Show, West Side Story), Pat Addiss (Promises, Promises; Spring Awakening), Louise H. Beard, Mariano Tolentino, Timothy Laczynski, Bartner/Jenkins Entertainment, Angela Milonas, and Bradford W. Smith. 

A Christmas Story: The Musical! began in Seattle Nov. 26, after a world-premiere run at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre in 2009. Songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul were enlisted to pen a new score for the 5th Avenue production. Eric Rosen directs the stage adaptation, based on the Jean Shepherd stories and 1983 film of the same title. The libretto is by Joseph Robinette. Kelly Devine (Rock of Ages) is the choreographer.

Clarke Hallum stars as Ralphie Parker in a cast that also includes John Bolton (Broadway's Curtains, Spamalot) as the Old Man and Anne Allgood (5th Ave productions of Sunday in the Park…, Candide) as Mother.

The cast also features River Aguirre (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) as Schwartz, Drama Desk nominee Orville Mendoza (Adrift in Macao) as Elf/Waiter, Frank Corrado as Jean Shepherd, Eric Polani Jensen as Pierre, Carol Swarbrick as Miss Shields, Matt Wolfe (Catch Me If You Can) as Santa, Keenan Barr as Grover Dill, Ashton Herrild as Scut Farkus, Matthew Lewis as Randy Parker and Dexter Johnson as Flick.

The design team includes Walt Spangler (scenic design), Elizabeth Hope Clancy (costume design), Larry Blank (orchestrations), Ian Eisendrath (musical direction) and Howell Binkley (lighting design).

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.

For tickets visit 5thAvenue.