MARQUEE VALUE: A Christmas Story: The Musical!
By Matthew Blank
A Christmas Story: The Musical!, based on the Jean Shepherd stories and 1983 film of the same title, will play a limited holiday engagement beginning Nov. 5 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, producers announced July 26.
The melodic tuner, 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 officially open Nov. 19 for a run 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).
Casting will be announced shortly. Rehearsals are set to begin Oct. 1.
"Broadway has been the goal. When you have a seasonal show there's only so many theatres available to you," producer Roy Miller told Playbill.com. "Getting one at anytime of the year is always a challenge. Especially when you only have a limited season to target. So, for us, Christmas came early this year. We're thrilled and excited."
The creative team has also been at work re-exploring and fine-tuning some of the material. The Broadway production, according to Miller, "has been taken to a new level," and the physical production will be larger and more expansive.
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."
The production has scenic design by Walt Spangler; costume design by Elizabeth Hope Clancy; lighting design by Tony Award winner Howell Binkley; sound design by Ken Travis; wig design by Tom Watson; orchestrations by 2011 Tony nominee Larry Blank; musical supervision by Ian Eisendrath; dance arrangements by Glen Kelly; and vocal arrangements by composer Justin Paul.
The show is produced by Peter Billingsley, the former child actor perhaps best known for creating the role of Ralphie Parker in the holiday film, as well as Gerald Goehring (Frankenstein: The Musical), Roy Miller (West Side Story revival, The Drowsy Chaperone), Michael F. Mitri (Frankenstein: The Musical), Pat Flicker Addiss (Promises, Promises; Spring Awakening), Mariano Tolentino, Louise H. Beard, Michael Filerman, Scott Hart, Timothy Laczynski, Bartner/Jenkins Entertainment, Angela Milonas, Bradford W. Smith.
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