A holiday favourite, A Christmas Story, comes to life on stage in new musical version by The Arts Club Theatre Company. The Tony award nominated A Christmas Story : The Musical brings the nostalgia of the classic 1983 film, in turn based on Jean Sheperd’s book “In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash”, to stage with new music by Pasek & Paul and book by Joseph Robinette.
The old adage in entertainment is to not work with children and animals. A Christmas Story : The Musical takes neither of those to heart, with a cast of 9 very capable children lead by Valin Shinyei as “Ralphie”, who carries the bulk of the play’s musical numbers in his quest for an Official Red Ryder carbine-action BB gun. Glen Gordon is perfect as younger brother “Randy” bringing to life some of the great comedic moments of the film. Coincidentally, Shinyei portrayed “Randy” in the 2012 film sequel. Parents; “Mother” Meghan Gardiner and especially, Matt Palmer as “the Old Man” add the familial charm to the show. “Narrator” Duff MacDonald fills in the gaps as he moves the story through the lead up to this 1940’s Christmas Day.
While A Christmas Story : The Musical captures all the main plot points of the original work, it’s 2.5 hour (including intermission) feels slightly excessive for a family show. The original script for the musical called for massive 20 children, but director/choreographer Valerie Easton paired the cast to 9 children for this smaller scale production. Both acts could have also benefitted from a scaling down, feeling like a song or two longer than necessary.
Overall, whether you’ve seen the original film or not, A Christmas Story : The Musical is a great show for the whole family to enjoy this holiday season.
The Arts Club Theatre Company’s A Christmas Story : The Musical is now playing at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage with 8 shows weekly until December 27th (dark Mondays)