Events all over Cleveland this holiday season will mark the 30th anniversary of the classic movie, A Christmas Story, which was filmed here. Near West Theatre leads the way with the local premiere of A Christmas Story, the Musical, featuring a singing, dancing cast of 55 Greater Clevelanders. Thirteen performances are offered Nov. 15 through Dec. 8 at the theater’s Ohio City performance space, 3606 Bridge Avenue. Friday and Saturday shows (plus one Thursday) are at 7:30 p.m.; four Sunday matinees are at 3 p.m.
Funny, heartfelt songs and big production numbers are featured in this hilarious version of Ralphie Parker’s desperate quest to ensure the gift of his dreams ends up under his family’s Christmas tree. Based on stories by legendary radio humorist Jean Shepherd, the musical by Joseph Robinette, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul premiered on Broadway in 2012. It was honored with Tony nominations for Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical.
Fans of the movie will recognize many familiar scenes and enjoy new musical-theater twists, ranging from Ralphie’s Wild West fantasy to dancing leg lamps. But they’ll also experience holiday warmth. “This story is one man’s memory of an unforgettable Christmas of his boyhood,” says Director Bob Navis Jr. “As Ralphie lobbies for his dream gift, a particular time and place are revealed: small-town America in the 1940s. We grow to love each member of the Parker family and understand their world, their dreams, their values and their love for each other and how that love is and is not expressed in this year of their lives together.” The cast, ages 8 to 59, includes 31 kids and teenagers.
Tickets can be purchased at www.nearwesttheatre.org, or by calling the box office at 216-961-6391 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. Reserved Star Seats with special benefits are $20; general admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children 12 and under.
American Sign Language Performance
The performance on Thursday, Dec. 5, will be interpreted in American Sign Language by the dramatic troupe, The HeArd. Seated facing the audience with their backs to the stage, four ASL artists will interpret all songs and dialogue in a dramatic style that is an art in itself. Audience members wishing to view the interpretation should request seats in the sign-language section when purchasing tickets.
Events Around Cleveland
A convention, a luncheon, a 5K/10K run, and the non-musical stage version of A Christmas Story are among the events that will celebrate the movie’s anniversary. For a list and details, visit www.achristmasstoryhouse.com and click on “30th Anniversary Events.” Participants include the Cleveland Play House, reviving the non-musical play for the first time in five years, A Christmas Story House in Tremont, Forest City Enterprises and Positively Cleveland.
Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing programmatic support from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, Greater Cleveland Community Shares and the Ohio Arts Council, and for under-writing of this production by the Department of Community Development of the City of Cleveland. Hinkley Lighting is a presenting sponsor of A Christmas Story, the Musical.
Cast: Felix Albino, Kate Atherton, Andrea Belser, Christopher Byrom, Kylie Colvin, Meg Corrigan, Sharron DeCosta, Holly Feiler, Kara Fields, Edward Gale, Quin Galvin, Lindsay Hajostek, Hanna Harlor, Dave Hopkins, Corinne Howery, Angellise Irizarry, Davion Irizarry, Grace Janosik, Hannah Jarrell, Rachel Johanek, Louis Johnson II, Sabrina Kim, Cora King, Jonas Kukelhan, Antoinette Kula, Julianne Kurdila, Giovanna Layne, Madelyn Lockshine, Elliot Lockshine, Tyrus Martin II, Gabriele Moyer, Andrew Narten, Jameisha Neal, Sam Pantalone, Christine Pantalone, Phil Pantalone, Jocelyn Perkins, Andrew Pollis, Statia Rankin, Johanna Regan, Eric Reising, Tony Saar, Stellina Scacco, Brandon Schumaker, Grace Schumann, Ashanti Scott, Christine Thompson, Jordan Thompson, Rafael Velez III, Colin Wheeler, Jennifer White, Morgan Williams, Justin Woody, Connie Wynn, Bob Zombar.
Jean Shepherd (Narrator): Sam Pantalone
Ralphie Parker: Colin Wheeler
Randy Parker: Phil Pantalone
Mother: Holly Feiler
Miss Shields: Antoinette Kula
The Old Man: Andrew Narten
Flick: Elliot Lockshine
Schwartz: Louis Johnson II
Mary Beth: Giovanna Layne
Esther Jane: Morgan Williams
Scut Farkus: Edward Gale
Grover Dill: Rafael Velez III
Mrs. Schwartz: Julianne Kurdila
Flick’s Mother: Christine Pantalone
Female Elf, Nurse: Quin Galvin
Male Elf: Brandon Schumaker
Waitress: Jennifer White
Production Staff — Director: Bob Navis Jr. Musical Director: Jordan Cooper. Assistant Director: Kelcie Dugger. Choreographers: Stephanie Morrison-Hrbek, Ellen Rooney. Technical Director and Production Manager: Josh Padgett. Assistant Technical Director and Video Designer: Perren Hedderson. Scenic and Properties Designer: Laura Carlson Tarantowski. Stage Manager and Assistant Production Manager: Ryan Wolf. Assistant Stage Managers: Josh Andrews, Leland Pestak. Lighting Designer: Mike Stein. Costume Designer: Sally Howe. Sound Designer: Joshua Caraballo. Properties Master: Jessica Rosenlieb. Properties Assistant: Kate Atherton.
A Christmas Story, the Musical
Musical by Joseph Robinette, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul,
based upon A Christmas Story © 1983 Turner Entertainment Co., distributed by Warner Bros., written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark, and on the book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd.
A Christmas Story, the Musical, is produced by special arrangement with THE DRAMATIC PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC., of Woodstock, Illinois. Produced with permission of Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Inc.