BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS STORY at the Eccles Theater is a Heartfelt Holiday Treat

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BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS STORY at the Eccles Theater is a Heartfelt Holiday Treat

The national tour of A CHRISTMAS STORY: THE MUSICAL, currently playing at the Eccles Theater, is a heartfelt exploration of childhood with a wonderful score brimming with memorable songs.

A CHRISTMAS STORY: THE MUSICAL (music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, book by Joseph Robinette) is based on the 1983 cult classic Christmas movie. Nominated for three Tony Awards, including Best Musical, the songs were written by the Oscar, Tony, and Grammy winning composers of THE GREATEST SHOWMAN and DEAR EVAN HANSEN. The show was performed as a spectacular live musical event on Fox in 2017. Ralphie is a young boy who navigates the perils of the holiday season as he struggles desperately to convince his parents that what he really needs for Christmas is an "official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time."

Ralphie is played by Ian Shaw (double cast with Tommy Druhan) with wide-eyed optimism and a soaring singing voice.

William Colin as Randy is a triple threat with great acting and singing, plus incredibly impressive dancing for such a young boy.

Christopher Swan as The Old Man and Briana Gantsweg as Mother head the family with stern discipline but also a warm outpouring of love.

And the proceedings are narrated with great aplomb and even some emotion by Chris Carsten as Jean Shepherd.

As a whole, the cast could have been slightly more polished, but they show great versatility as they fill a number of roles in the town and in Ralphie's imagination, including a solid children's ensemble.

The centerpiece of the scenic design by Michael Carnahan, adapted from the original Broadway design by Walt Spangler, is a large and detailed house set that feels wonderfully lived in and period-appropriate. The rest of the set skews more toward simply elegant than tacky and includes several admirable practical elements.

The lighting design by Charlie Morrison, adapted from the original Broadway design by Howell Binkley, plays with fun, festive green and red when inside Ralphie's head but also keeps the rest of the scenes firmly entrenched in reality.

The costume design by Michael McDonald, adapted from the original Broadway design by Elizabeth Hope Clancy, is accurate to the 1940s but with a feeling of timelessness that transcends the era.

A CHRISTMAS STORY is a holiday treat that is worth the effort to see live on stage.

A CHRISTMAS STORY: THE MUSICAL plays the Eccles Theater for a limited engagement through Sunday, December 8, 2019. For tickets, call ArtTix at 801-355-ARTS (2787) or visit www.artsaltlake.org.

Photo Credit: Photo by Gary Emord Netzley




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