REVIEWSSally Jo OsborneTheatre Reviews

A Christmas Story: The Musical 2016

Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

Book by Joseph Robinette.

Directed by: Robert D. Estrin.

Choreographed by Jennifer Cupani.

Musical Direction by Gina Masland.

At Citadel Theatre, Lake Forest.

Funny, Sweet and Memorable…An Event for the Whole Family.

You’re going to shoot your eye out…..I bet you have heard that once or twice before. This heart-warming tale brings us back to when times were simpler and we all sat down to eat dinner at the kitchen table together to discuss our day. When is the last time that happened in your house? Take a trip to Lake Forest and join the fun!


Flawlessly narrated by radio personality, Jean Shepard (Scott Phelps), the story revolves around Ralphie Parker (Donovan Martin) and his never ending desire for a Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200 shot range model air rifle (BB gun).  Ralphie lives with his mom (Traci Cidlik), “the old man” (Chase Peacock) and little brother Randy (Carter Graf) in a modest home in Hohman, Indiana. The old man loves crossword puzzles. Crossword puzzles are his escape from the stresses of everyday life like, the old furnace that constantly breaks down, the crazy dogs that live next door that nearly attack him when he comes home at night. When he wins a major award the family is so excited to see the prize. It just so happens to be a lamp in the shape of a leg wearing a fishnet stocking-which then becomes a center of controversy.  Meanwhile, mom is cooking and cleaning and making sure everyone is happy despite her dislike for the lamp. Little brother Randy doesn’t like to eat much and so mom finds creative ways for him to get his nutrition—oink oink.


This production comes complete with town bullies, a frozen flag pole and a very commanding school teacher (Kayla Boye). This is a larger than life production on a fairly small stage and yet the cast of 26 pulled it off seamlessly. Creative use of the staging takes us into the kitchen most of the time after all, that is where most of the action is happening. The most exciting of holiday dinners gets destroyed when disaster strikes and they end up eating out at a Chinese restaurant which the only place open in town. Who knew that little brother Randy liked noodles so much?


Time to open presents and Ralphie is anxiously waiting to see if he received his dream gift and sure enough there was one last present and it is indeed the gun he wanted.  He very carefully take the gun outside to test it out and sure enough the BB ricochets back at him and knocks his glasses off! He thought he shot his eye out-but actually he accidentally steps on his glasses and starts to cry. He told his mom that an icicle hit him in the face and he broke his glasses—his mom believes him—of course she does!

There are a lot of stories shared and songs sung—some silly and some very touching. I really enjoy a show when I am moved by the music-there is a much deeper connection to the show and to the characters. You should go and bring the whole family!


Sally Jo Osborne.

Date reviewed November 20, 2016.

For more information check out the A Christmas Story page at

At Citadel Theatre, 300 S Waukegan Road, Lake Forest, IL, call 847-735-8554,  $35 -$ 38, Thursdays at 7:30, Fridays at 8pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Additional matinees have been scheduled for Wednesdays December 7 & 14 at 11 am and Saturdays December 10 &17 at 1pm, running time:  2 hours 20 minutes with intermission, through December 18, 2016.