BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS STORY: THE MUSICAL Enchants Jackson
The Christmas festivities didn't end on December 25th this year for many theatre-goers in Jackson, Mississippi. Attendees of all ages could be found in the auditorium at Thalia Mara Hall for the December 26th performance of A Christmas Story: The Musical. The touring production, presented by Big League Productions, Inc., in association with Deborah Denenberg, features a book by Tony Award nominee Joseph Robinette and a score by Tony, Oscar, and Golden Globe-winning team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.
A part of the Broadway in Jackson season presented by Trustmark, A Christmas Story: The Musical is based on the classic Christmas film of the same name. It tells the story of Ralphie Parker, a 9 year old boy whose only Christmas wish is to receive a very specific B.B. gun. Antics ensue when Ralphie employs a number of tactics to convince his parents that he just really needs that gun and expresses his constant frustration at being told "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!" at every turn. Other highlights include his father's infatuation with a peculiar "award" and a triple-dog-dare gone horribly wrong.
The company of this show is one guaranteed to entertain and delight. Chris Carsten as Jean Shepherd was spot-on with his comedic narrations throughout the show, telling the story as a now-older Ralphie. On for Ralphie at this performance, Tristan Klaphake embodied the beloved movie character hilariously well while adding an element the movie didn't include - talented vocals. Along with Mother, played by Sara Zoe Budnik, Matthew Brennan in the role of The Old Man, and Evan Christy as Ralphie's younger brother, Randy, the Parker family was one rife with charm, heart, fun, and incredible voices. (Miss) Shields, Ralphie's teacher, is played by Angelica Richie, and she blows the top out of her big song and tap number with Ralphie's classmates. And, of course, the ensemble brought their A-game, performing their big numbers with impressive cohesion, skill, and energy.
The weather outside during this performance may have been miserably cold and wet, but the mood in the theater was one filled with warmth and laughter. The show was a hit with children and adults alike, and I believe just about everyone left the theater with a smile on their face, likely even bigger than that with which they came in.
The tour will be rolling on to its next stop in Austin, Texas and will play at the Long Center from December 29th until December 31st. If you're in the Austin area in the next few days, don't miss your chance to catch this utterly delightful holiday production! Tickets available here: http://thelongcenter.org/event/christmas-story-musical/