BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS STORY at Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre
A Christmas Story at FMCT
To many the story of Ralphie and the Red Ryder BB Gun is a holiday classic. The 1983 film didn't do great in theaters, but became a cult classic after hit came to the small screen. It became popular enough that Joseph Robinette turned it into a stage production that has played from Broadway to a live network TV special and now it's making its way across the country on smaller stages. Luckily for the Fargo-Moorhead area FMCT decided to get the rights and treat us to a fun holiday show.
This is a big cast for the smaller stage of FMCT, 37 according to the playbill, but every cast member does their part to pull off this fun family friendly show. Plus we can't forget the 16 member pit orchestra and the 25 member crew. The cast is a nice mixture of child and adult actors/actresses. As usual there are some great standouts that I will mention.
First and foremost and hands down my favorite character in the show (and quickly becoming one of my favorite local performers) Clayton Perala as "The Old Man". Clayton absolutely steals the show in every scene he is in. He plays the cranky dad who is mad at the world to perfection. His colorful language when things don't go his way will have you falling out of your chair laughing. His performance on The Genius on Cleveland Street was amazing. I can't wait to see what Clayton does next.
Shanna Franzen as Mother was another great choice. She is a very talented actress and singer. Her interactions with Ralphie and Randy were beautiful and her solo on What a Mother Does was perfection.
Keith Schweigert as Jean Shepherd was another wonderful choice. He narrated the story so well and during one of his final monologues towards the end I don't think there was a dry eye in the building, including his own.
Seth LaMont as Ralphie and Roman Indrehus as Randy held their own in the scenes with their adult counterparts, and even though Ralphie is considered to be the main character of the story Randy managed to steal a few scenes also. There are some amazing kids in this cast and the performance of When You're a Wimp was a crowd favorite. The performance of You'll Shoot Your Eye Out with the kids and (Miss) Shields had a phenomenal tap number and we even get to see Santa tap dance. A shout out to Kathy Hanson for her choreography skills.
I also need to mention Sam Krauth as Santa. His performance on Up on Santa's Lap was another favorite. The comments he makes about the kids were hilarious.
**Photo Credit: Perry Rust