A Christmas Story, The Musical arrives on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre just in time for the 2012 holiday season. Based on the 1983 movie perennial, the musical plays and eight-week limited engagement through December 30. Opening night is tonight, November 19.
The show stars Dan Lauria (Broadway’s Lombardi, TV’s “Sullivan & Son” and “The Wonder Years”) as Jean Shepherd, John Bolton (Spamalot, Contact, Titanic) as The Old Man, Tony Award nominee Erin Dilly (Nice Work if You Can Get It, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) as Mother, Johnny Rabe as Ralphie, Zac Ballard as little brother Randy, Caroline O’Connor (Chicago, Moulin Rouge) as school teacher Miss Shields, Eddie Korbich (The Little Mermaid, The Drowsy Chaperone, Wicked) as Santa Claus and Joe West plays Ralphie at certain performances.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Charles Isherwood, The New York Times: Every year at this time Broadway producers are seized with the urge to pick parents’ pockets with splashy holiday fare aimed at young audiences. “A Christmas Story,” based on the popular 1983 movie adapted from the writings of the radio personality Jean Shepherd, wins points for being less glitzy and more soft-spoken than the garish, overbearing musical versions of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Elf.”…I found the heavy doses of voice-over in the rather clunky movie to be obtrusive and irritating. Happily, the stage version lightens up a little on the cute, smart-alecky asides…making room for the music and allowing the story mostly to speak for itself… “A Christmas Story” features a sizable group of young performers that makes the small band of orphans in “Annie” look positively skimpy...You’re welcome to your Red Ryder carbine action BB gun, Ralphie. What I want for Christmas is a pair of tap shoes.
Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: We've all seen the scene in "A Christmas Story" when the kid gets his tongue stuck on a frozen flagpole. Now on Broadway is that very same scene – plus the kid actually singing through it, or at least trying to sing. "Sthlun luv a...," he mumbles at the end. It's just one great touch in a musical that dares to mess with one of the most popular Christmas-time movies of all time and yet manages to not only do the film justice, but top it. The show...is a charming triumph of imagination that director John Rando has infused with utter joy. It's also a snappy piece of mature songwriting from a pair of guys barely as old as the original 1983 film...Purists may be upset to miss some film elements – such as Ralphie's decoder ring – but few will walk away thinking "A Christmas Story" has been dishonored, itself a little Christmas miracle.
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: A cut above the pack, it’s cute, corny, wholesome and sentimental – all basic requirements for family-friendly seasonal stage entertainment. But it also packs ample heart into its wistful glance back to a time when rewards were simpler, communities were closer-knit, and both parental and filial roles were less polluted by the infinite distractions and anxieties of contemporary life. In short, a time when happiness was just a Christmas gift away…Sturdily adapted by Joseph Robinette, it features a peppy, period-flavored score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. With their catchy lyrics and robust melodies, the songs strengthen the characters and situations, dropped in at just the right time to enhance and propel the story…This is an ensemble show rather than a vehicle for star turns, but Lauria’s warmly authoritative presence provides a binding element, and Rabe gives Ralphie irrepressible spirit. Bolton deserves special mention, making Ralphie’s dad a gangly human cartoon, both gruff and affectionate.
Steve Suskin, Variety: Broadway has recently seen such a steady stream of family musicals devised to rake in Thanksgiving-to-New Year's dollars. "A Christmas Story," as its well-known title indicates, is yet another such specimen, but one that distinguishes itself. Based on a memoir by humorist Jean Shepherd and its revered 1983 film adaptation, this tuner boasts a heartwarming but wise story, an impressive score by Broadway newcomers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, canny staging and a series of laugh-out-loud production numbers. While "Christmas Story" is a natural for kids, there's more than enough here for grown-ups of all ages.