by Megan Buchbinder, Marketing Director at Springfield Little Theatre
Most of us can vividly remember that one holiday that stood above the rest for one reason or another. Maybe it was because that was the year the cat jumped up on the table when nobody was looking and ate the whole turkey. Or maybe it was because that was the year your family took a ski trip instead of staying home and you spent the holidays trying your hardest to stay upright for an entire run. Or, if you are like me, you received the gift you most passionately wanted. The gift you made sure everyone knew you wanted, you even prayed for it. The gift that would end all gifts. The Hanson “Middle of Nowhere” CD. And when you saw that thin little square-shaped present wrapped towards the back of the tree, your heart just knew what it was. And when you ripped the corner off and saw that beautiful organgey-yellow cover, you immediately ran upstairs to get your boom box and plugged it in at the kitchen table and listened to every.single.song…..
What was that? That wasn’t like you? That was just me? Well then I digress…(but that still is one of the greatest CDs of all time.)
For whatever reason, some holidays just stand out above the rest. For Ralphie Parker, it was the Christmas when he was 9 years old and all he ever wanted was an official Red Ryder® Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. This is starting to sound familiar, isn’t it? Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably at least HEARD of the classic holiday movie, A Christmas Story. The story of Ralphie Parker who does whatever he possibly can do to make sure he gets that coveted BB gun for Christmas.
This November, the holiday classic we all know and love is coming to life for the first time in Springfield, Missouri on the historic Landers Theatre stage. With all of the characters and hilarious turn of events that you’ll find in the movie will be on stage….just with music and a jazzy dance number! The musical numbers are brought to you by the same duo who wrote “La La Land,” “The Greatest Showman” (who else listened to that soundtrack on repeat when it came out?) and the Broadway hit “Dear Evan Hansen.” So, if your holiday tradition is to curl up on the couch and watch A Christmas Story, this year, pack up the kids, grab your friends and curl up in one of the maroon seats at The Landers Theatre and see your insanely talented neighbors tell the story of your beloved Ralphie and his sought-after BB gun with one show-stopping musical number after another.! The show opens November 23 and runs through December 9 with tickets ranging from $16-$27. Tickets and more information can be found at: https://www.springfieldlittletheatre.org/st_show/a-christmas-story-the-musical/
The Old Man, played by Ryan Mattix is a dream role for many men, especially now when there is a pretty incredible “leg lamp” dance number. About playing this iconic father-figure, Ryan says, “This show is a trip down American nostalgia lane. Getting to work with this cast, especially the actors who play my family, has been a thrilling experience. Playing The Old Man is such a fun challenge. This guy is a lovable, no-nonsense, grouch who really cares for his family (and LOVES turkey). My favorite part of the show is the moment the leg lamp arrives. It’s just so silly! Also, the last scene. The family has this very touching moment that really expresses what the holiday season is all about.”
Ralphie is a character that many people, boy or girl, can identify with. At 14 years old, Keavan Coale who plays Ralphie in the Springfield Little Theatre’s musical is a veteran to The Landers stage and is having a blast portraying Ralphie opposite of some of his real-life family members! (His brother, AJ plays Randy and his mom, Bria is in the adult ensemble.) “Being a part of A Christmas Story has been a fantastic experience. Not only do I get to work with many of my friends, I even get to be stage brothers with my real brother! Working with him has been great and I think us being real brothers really contributed to the authenticity of our characters. Being Ralphie is a challenge, but it is so much fun to play this big, charming, and slightly conniving kid!”
Jean Shepherd is the character who brings it all together. Playing the narrator and adult Ralphie is Chalmer Harper who was most recently seen on The Landers stage as Teddy Roosevelt in the SLT season opening show, Disney’s Newsies. Guiding us along the journey of his most memorable Christmas growing up, Jean Shepherd relives the joy, the pain and downright hilarious moments of that Christmas season. Of playing Jean Chalmer says, “If you have ever wondered what it’s like to read someone’s mind, experience life’s joys and disappointments, nostalgia and hindsight, through their eyes—that is exactly what it is like to play Jean Shepherd. Being able to step into the role of such an incredible storyteller is an honor and a privilege.”
Now, to prepare you for A Christmas Story—The Musical, and frankly, life in general, here are a few lessons you will learn from coming to see this Springfield Little Theatre holiday show:
Springfield Little Theatre presents A Christmas Story—The Musical at the historic Landers Theatre in downtown Springfield, November 23 through December 9. Tickets and information at https://www.springfieldlittletheatre.org/st_show/a-christmas-story-the-musical/