SAn Jose Rep Presents A CHRISTMAS STORY, Previews 11/21-25

The story of Ralphie Parker's quest for the "Holy Grail of Christmas presents" - a genuine Red Ryder 200 Shot Carbine Action Air BB gun - has become a holiday movie tradition, capturing the hearts of millions of families across America. San Jose Repertory Theatre's production of this beloved holiday gem has been called, " ... wacky and wistful and fresh as a fir ... a charming surprise package" (Mercury News) and " ... a nice neat bow of Christmas Joy" (San Francisco Chronicle).

A Christmas Story, written by Philip Grecian and directed by Chris Smith is based on the touching film written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark. This year, the Rep offers Family Packs at $99. A Christmas Story is ideal family fare for the holidays! This fun-filled family Yuletide tradition runs from November 21 - December 20, 2009, at San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio in downtown San Jose. Preview performances are November 21, 22, 24 and 25. Pay What You Will Tuesday is November 24. Press Opening is Friday, November 27 at 8:00 p.m.

"When the Rep first produced A Christmas Story, little did we know it would become the highest selling play in our history. The audience asked us to bring it back during the holidays at some point, and it felt to me that this year, with the struggle we're all confronting, was a great time to revisit what has become one of the timeless American holiday tales," declares Artistic Director Rick Lombardo. "Growing up in New York City in the 1960's, I would listen each night to my AM radio as I drifted off to sleep, and most nights it was Jean Shepherd's voice and his stories of Depression Era America that lulled me off to sleep."

A Christmas Story recounts the hilarious tale of the Parker family's Christmas in the 1940's when nine-year-old Ralphie (Garrett Meyer) had nothing on his mind but getting a Red Ryder BB gun. No self-respecting cowboy would have been without one. Like the movie, the play is narrated by the adult Ralph Parker (Dan Hiatt), as he reminisces about his past and weaves together stories from his family, school and a visit to Santa at the Goldblatt's Department Store. Recounting the reactions from his mom, teacher and even the department store Santa Claus, as they share the same sentiment to his Christmas wish, "You'll shoot your eye out!" A Christmas Story is a nostalgic journey to simpler times and a joyous reminder of the delights of family, friendship and the pursuit for the perfect Christmas present.

"It's a joy to visit this American holiday classic with the Rep. Laugh-out-loud scenes woven together with a satiric yet touching look back at childhood, our production serves up this yuletide feast with all the trimmings," adds director Chris Smith. "We've got a wonderful company - Dan, Nancy and Howard are familiar favorites who get to create some mayhem with a fresh, talented group of San Jose children actors - and the terrific production values Rep audiences expect. If you love the movie, come see it magnified by the power of live performance. You'll "ho ho ho" all the way home."

Set in the American mid-west, A Christmas Story instantaneously became a Christmas classic when it was released as a major motion picture in 1983. This story is based on Jean Shepherd's book, In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, and was adapted to the stage by playwright Philip Grecian in 2000, with all the elements from the beloved motion picture, including the infamous ‘major award' leg lamp, the "wet tongue on a cold lamp post" experiment, and the Little Orphan Annie decoder ring. This story will delight the entire family and fill the hearts of both young and old with the spirit of the holiday season.

Philip Grecian, the playwright, is familiar with bringing holiday classics to the stage. His adaptation of A Christmas Carol has become an annual tradition in many communities around the United States. The script of his radio adaptation of Dracula (produced and syndicated in the 1970's has found new life as a stage production, complete with an onstage sound effects crew). Several of Grecian's plays have been published, including his widely popular The Velveteen Rabbit (Dramatic Publishing). The Dragon of Nitt (Dramatic Pub lishing) and Lion and the Lyre have been translated and performed in Russia.

Jean Shepherd was a writer, humorist, actor, radio raconteur and television and film personality. He spun his life into tales and told the world of his experience with the obscure and infamous, his childhood in Hammond, Indiana and his adventures in the Army Signal Corps. Shepherd's entertainment career began in Chicago as a performer at the Goodman Theatre. He then moved onto radio and television with live radio broadcasts from the Limelight and PBS' Jean Shepherd's America and Shepherd's Pie. He passed away on October 16, 1999 at the age of 78.

Director Chris Smith has directed world premieres by Edna O'Brien, Charles Grodin, David Ives, Joyce Carol Oates, Romulus Linney, John Belluso and four by Pulitzer Prize-winner Frank D. Gilroy (notably Drama Desk "Best Play" Nominated Contact with the Enemy). Recent productions include: Abraham Lincoln's Big, Gay Dance Party by Aaron Loeb (NYC Fringe Festival, "Outstanding Production;" SF Playhouse, BACC "Best New Play"). Smith is the former Artistic Director of Magic Theatre (SF) and Youngblood (NYC); the co-author of The Sparrow and the Birdman with Raquel Bitton (commissioned by TheatreWorks) and A Sense of Freedom, with Domenick Allen. He taught directing at San Jose State. He lives in Marin with wife Sheri Matteo and children Micaela and Anderson.

Reprising their roles in A Christmas Story are Bay Area favorites Dan Hiatt as the adult Ralph Parker, Howard Swain as The Old Man and Nancy Carlin as his charming wife. They are joined on the Rep stage by a talented group of San Jose children actors. Emilio Fuentes as Randy Parker, Leah Kolchinsky as Esther Jane Alberry, Garrett Meyer as Ralphie Parker, Max Mifsud as Scut Farkas, Ali Molaei as Schwartz, Elara Rivers as Helen Weathers and Nicolas Sancen as Flick.

The creative team for A Christmas Story includes scenic designer Robert Mark Morgan, costume designer B Modern, lighting designer Lap-Chi Chu, and sound designer Jeff Mockus. The stage manager is Laxmi Kumaran.

A Christmas Story is sponsored by Bally Total Fitness, Crowne Plaza, Lockheed Martin and Silicon Valley Bank and supported, in part, by a Cultural Affairs grant from the City of San Jose.

About the Rep:
San Jose Rep is the premier non-profit, professional theatre company in the South Bay, presenting six main stage productions each year. As a major contributor to South Bay's cultural community for 29 years, the Rep's mission is to engage, entertain and inspire people. The Rep produces innovative theatrical performances that offer fresh perspectives into the human condition, educational programs that promote life-long learning, and outreach initiatives that benefit our diverse community. For more information, visit

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