Broadway's A Christmas Story, The Musical Finds Its Ralphie(s)
By Andrew Gans
Following a nationwide search, producers of A Christmas Story, The Musical announced Oct. 2 that Johnny Rabe will don Ralphie’s trademark spectacles for the holiday engagement at Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.
Rabe, who will be making his Broadway debut in the role, has some history with the musical, having been discovered in Chicago last year when he auditioned for the 2011 national tour of A Christmas Story, The Musical. Too young for the role last year, producers kept an eye on Rabe casting him as one of Ralphie’s classmates. A year later, Rabe once again auditioned, and "knocked the socks off of the creative team," according to a press statement.
“I can’t believe it," Rabe stated. "I had so much fun last year singing and dancing in the snow with the rest of the kids’ ensemble, I never dreamed that I would ever get to wear the pink bunny suit …on Broadway! Talk about an early Christmas present!"
At certain performances, Joe West, also making his Broadway debut, will play the role of Ralphie. Producers were so impressed with West’s video submission, he was invited to come to New York where he auditioned for the creative team. West is the son of two-time Daytime Emmy Award winner Maura West (“As The World Turns").
"After months of searching, we are thrilled to have found two exceptionally talented boys to play role of Ralphie," producer Gerald Goehring said in a statement. "Broadway's newest 12-year-old triple threat, Johnny Rabe, graduated from the ranks of the kids' ensemble in last year's tour to become our terrific young leading man. And Joe West wowed us with his online video audition and now joins our fabulous company. We couldn't be more excited to be the first to share these two young stars with the Broadway community!"
A Christmas Story, The Musical, based on the 1983 movie perennial, will play a Nov. 5-Dec. 30 holiday engagement. Opening night is Nov. 19.
Tickets are now on sale at www.AChristmasStoryTheMuscial.com.
A Christmas Story has a score by Richard Rodgers Award-winning Dogfight songwriters Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, and a book by Joseph Robinette.
The cast will also include John Bolton as The Old Man, Erin Dilly (Nice Work If You Can Get It, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) as Mother, Caroline O'Connor (Chicago, Mack and Mabel, "Moulin Rouge") as school teacher Miss Shields, Eddie Korbich (The Little Mermaid, The Drowsy Chaperone, Wicked) as Santa Claus and Zac Ballard (Oliver! at Irish Rep) as little brother Randy. Dan Lauria, who last appeared in the title role of Lombardi, will portray narrator Jean Shepherd.
A Christmas Story, The Musical has orchestrations by 2011 Tony nominee Larry Blank (Catch Me If You Can, The Drowsy Chaperone, White Christmas), musical supervision by Ian Eisendrath and dance arrangements by Glen Kelly.
Tony-winning director John Rando (Urinetown) and Tony-nominated choreographer Warren Carlyle (Chaplin, Follies, An Evening With Hugh Jackman) helm the production.
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."
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