John Rando Will Direct Christmas Story Tour; John Bolton, Gene Weygandt, Rachel Bay Jones Star

News   John Rando Will Direct Christmas Story Tour; John Bolton, Gene Weygandt, Rachel Bay Jones Star
Tony Award winner John Rando has joined the creative team of the national tour of A Christmas Story, The Musical!, taking over as director from Warren Carlyle, who remains the choreographer of the show.

Clarke Hallum in the 5th Avenue Theatre production
Clarke Hallum in the 5th Avenue Theatre production Photo by Chris Bennion

Carlyle (Follies, Finian's Rainbow), previously announced as the director and choreographer for A Christmas Story, The Musical!, had to bow out as director due to a scheduling conflict (namely, staging Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway).

Also joining the creative team is acclaimed arranger Glen Kelly (The Book of Mormon, Scottsboro Boys, The Producers, High Society).

Rando won his Tony for directing Urinetown. Members of his Christmas Story principal cast were also revealed on Sept. 30: The tour that launches in November will feature Clarke Hallum and John Bolton (Spamalot, Contact, Titanic) as Ralphie and The Old Man, respectively (they played the parts at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre last year). Matthew Lewis also returns as little brother Randy. New to the production are Gene Weygandt (Wicked, Big and the recent Working in Chicago) as Jean Shepherd and Rachel Bay Jones (Women on The Verge…, Hair) as The Mother.

Additional casting will be announced.

A Christmas Story, The Musical!, based on the cult-hit film of the same name, and the book by Jean Shepherd, has a libretto by Joseph Robinette and music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. A Christmas Story, The Musical! will launch a five-city national tour for the 2011 holiday season with engagements in Hershey, PA (Hershey Theatre, Nov. 8-13); Detroit, MI (Fisher Theatre, Nov. 15-27); Raleigh, NC (Memorial Auditorium, Nov. 29-Dec. 4); Tampa, FL, (Straz Center, Dec. 6-11); and Chicago, IL (Chicago Theatre, Dec. 14-30).

Peter Billingsley, who starred as Ralphie in the original 1983 film, serves as a producer for the holiday tour. The new tour follows sold-out, record-breaking developmental runs at Kansas City Rep in 2009 and Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre in 2010.

The story is set in 1940s Indiana, where "a bespectacled boy named Ralphie has a big imagination and one wish for Christmas — a Red Ryder BB Gun," according to the producers. "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! features scenic design by Walt Spangler; costume design by Elizabeth Hope Clancy; lighting design by Tony Award winner Howell Binkley; orchestrations by 2011 Tony nominee Larry Blank; musical supervision by Ian Eisendrath; dance arrangements by Glen Kelly; casting by Stephanie Klapper.

The tour's commercial producers include Gerald Goehring, Roy Miller, Michael Mitri, Pat Addiss, Louise Beard, Michael Filerman, Mariano Tolentino, Tim Laczynski, Bartner/Jenkins Entertainment, Angela Milonas, Bradford W. Smith.

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John Bolton
John Bolton
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