On a gray, rainy November day in Indiana, it’s not always easy to feel the holiday spirit. We gave it a good kick start this weekend, though, by immersing ourselves in music, theatre, a great turkey and roast beef dinner, and the beloved holiday story of Ralphie Parker.
It was a fun, relaxing date night – much needed after a wildly busy fall of home renovations, moving, getting married and coordinating a big work event at Riley!
Eddie Curry is perfect as the narrator for the story, which closely follows the classic scenes from the movie. It was fun to listen for Indiana references, as the story takes place in the fictional town of Hohman, Ind., in the 1940s. The songs for this Tony-nominated musical (written by acclaimed duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the team behind “Dear Evan Hansen”) help paint the picture of Ralphie’s world, and his quest to receive the Christmas gift of his dreams: A Red Ryder BB gun.
I hear the show is close to sold out, so I’d recommend checking ASAP if you’d like to spend your holiday with Ralphie and company! Here are the three of my favorite things about A Christmas Story at Beef & Boards:
I loved seeing so many talented kids making up the majority of the ensemble for the show. I found myself cheering for all ten of them and smiling at the energy they brought to the production. The role of Ralphie is played by Ben Kistner, a seventh-grader at Zionsville West Middle School. Wow. His strong, clear voice sounded great, even in the challenging musical moments that stretched to the high end of his range, and his acting was convincing. Fender Brokamp was also adorable as Ralphie’s little brother, Randy. He got some big laughs with his enormous snowsuit and pig-inspired eating habits.
LEG LAMP KICK LINE
The “major award” that Ralphie’s “Old Man” (beautifully played by Don Farrell) wins is definitely a scene-stealer. The fishnet-clad plastic leg lamp has become the movie’s most iconic symbol, and the stage version of the show takes full advantage of the campy prop in a dance number. When the whole stage filled up with dancers creating a fishnet leg lamp kick line, I couldn’t help but crack up.
I also decided I really want to buy some fishnet stockings.
One of the most surprising and delightful moments was when Ralphie’s teacher, Miss Shields (played by Lanene Charters) led an enormous tap number, “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out.” She did a great job not only with the tapping, but also with her strong vocals and larger-than-life character. The kids also looked great with all their little toes tapping together. Ralphie’s vivid imagination lends itself well to colorful fantasy sequences like this song and “Ralphie to the Rescue!”
To the cast and crew, I pass along my thanks for a fun night out, and wish you a happy holiday season!
“A Christmas Story: The Musical” is on stage through Dec. 31. Tickets range from $45 to $70 and include a full holiday buffet. For reservations, visit beefandboards.com
Trisha Lawless is Manager of Communications for Riley Children’s Foundation in Indianapolis and a freelance writer for Midwest Parenting Publication. Trisha joined Riley in 2011 after working for 15 years as a television news journalist.Trisha and her husband Ben live in Indianapolis and have six children in their blended family.
Trisha’s memoir, “Know When to Run: Lessons from the Diary of a Gen X Mom,” documents her final year in the television business and her decision to make the leap into a more balanced life.