A Christmas Story – The Musical

A Christmas Story the musicalBook by Joesph Robinette

Music & lyrics by Benj Pasek

& Justin Paul

Directed by John Rando

Choreographed by Warren Carlyle

Music direction by Ian Eisendrath

At the Chicago Theatre

Heartfelt and humorous musical version of the beloved 1983 film, A Christmas Story, The Musical sings and dances delightfully

After a five city tour from Hershey, PA; Detroit, MI; Raleigh, NC; Tampa, FL; and now Chicago,  A Christmas Story,  The Musical opens to the delight of audiences. Smartly,  book writer Joseph Robinette stays faithful to the 1983 film that has become one of the ‘most watched’ holidays films ever. With original music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, these creatives have taken the charm and down home honesty of small town America in 1940 and made it more emotional and heartfelt with the funny and poignant songs.

a christmas story the musical

As a memory play that finds radio personality Jean Shepherd (Gene Weygandt) recalling ‘that Christmas’ when he was 9 1/2 years old, the story is quite nostalgic. As a child his focus was to own a Red Ryder Carbine Action BB Gun. His parents chided:  “You’ll shoot your eye out!” This memory musical is distinctly from the nine year old Ralphie’s point of view. The innocent, naive and honest memory translates into a funny yet nostalgic look into the family life of middle class rural Americans.

a christmas story the musical

Led by the steady work from Gene Weygandt as Shepherd and by golden-voiced youngster, Clarke Hallum as Ralphie, A Christmas Story The Musical is a most winning full-blown Broadway musical true to its source material and marvelously acted, sung, and danced by a 30 person cast consisting of a mixture of Chicago Equity talents and a polished troupe of kid talents.  Adam Petly, George Andrew Wolff and Karen Mason are a few of the Chicago players featured in this family friendly new show.

a christmas story the musical

From the opening song “Counting Down to Christmas,” we appreciate the sophisticated music and smart lyrics from the team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.  All the principal characters get their songs: The Old Man (the hilarious John Bolton) sings his puzzle gamesmanship in “The Genius on Cleveland Street.” Mother (the quirky Rachel Bay Jones) sings two ballads:  “What a Mother Does” and ” Just Like That”‘ defining the role of a caring mother. Miss Shields (Karen Mason) nails her anthem with hints of Wicked with “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out.” Even Santa get into the act as Adam Pelty sings his disgust with kids in the funny “Up on Santa’s Lap.”

a christmas story the musical

But the best songs come from Ralphie and his mates. “Count Down to Christmas,” “When You’re a Wimp” and “A Sticky Situation” tell about the kids at play. Ralphie fantasizes about using his BB gun to help in the Old West in the show-stopping cowboy song: “Ralphie to the Rescue.” Ralphie and the kids sing the heartfelt “Somewhere Hovering Over Indiana” – an ode to every kid’s Christmas wishes.

 A christmas story the Musical A christmas story the Musical

This slick, well produced Broadway musical features so many tender moments, youthful comedy, and expertly staged show stoppers is considered an instant classic! You can take the kids and they’ll love it and you will too.  I’m guessing this musical will take its place as one of Chicago’s new holiday classics. Keep in mind that there are several matinees from 11 am on.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: December 14, 2011

Jeff Recommended

For more info, checkout the A Christmas Story page on Theatreinchicago.com

At the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, Chicago, IL, call 1-800-745-3000, www.thechicagotheatre.com, tickets $35 – $79, Tuesdays at 7:30 pm, Wednesdays at 3 & 7:30 pm, Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 11 am & 7:30 pm, Saturday Dec 24 at 11 am & 3 pm, Monday, Dec 26 at 3 & 7:30 pm, running time is 2 hours, 20 minutes with intermission, through December 30, 2011