“A Christmas Story, The Musical” adds charm to a classic holiday tale

Photo by Glenn Ross –  Miles Shaw as BB gun longing Ralphie in “A Christmas Story, The Musical” at Boulder Dinner Theater reaches out to touch the “Major award.”

By Amber McIver-Traywick

The Surveyor

If the phrase, “You’ll shoot your eye out,” brings up some fond holiday memories you are sure to thoroughly enjoy Boulder Dinner Theater’s (BDT) take on “A Christmas Story, The Musical.” If by some chance you haven’t seen the holiday classic this funny, heartwarming, and agelessly nostalgic tale of one boy’s desperate desire to do whatever it takes to acquire a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas and his relatable family is still a holiday must-see. 

For those unfamiliar with the 1983 film “A Christmas Story,” which is based on stories by legendary radio humorist Jean Shepherd, both of which eventually spawned the musical, the story consists of a series of vignettes, with narration provided by an adult Ralphie Parker, in the BDT version the part is portrayed in a spot-on performance by Wayne Kennedy who may have actually made me tear up at one point. Adult Ralphie spins the tale while reminiscing about a particularly memorable Christmas season in the early 1940s in the fictional town of Hohman, Indiana.  

The musical follows the movie closely which I appreciated. Sometimes when a story is so familiar major changes can almost feel jarring.  During the performance I attended some audience members were heard repeating some of the many memorable lines along with the actors. If you too have enjoyed the film every holiday season for decades you may find yourself doing the same.

BDT’s production is directed by award-winning actor Scott Beyette, choreographer McKayla Marso, and music direction by Neal Dunfee.

The musical element is lighthearted and brings to life many of the familiar scenes with numbers like, “A Major Award,” “Red Ryder Carbine Action BB Gun,” and “Up on Santa’s Lap.” Two stand-out numbers for me were, “Ralphie to the Rescue!” where we see into Ralphie’s daydream as he rescues his teacher from a bandit with his incredibly handy and obviously practical BB gun all while being praised by common townsfolk in a fun ensemble piece. The second piece comes via the talented Alicia K. Meyers as Ralphie’s teacher, Ms. Shields. Meyers can belt out some tunes and on “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out” – set in Ralphie’s imagination in a 1930s speakeasy, the talented kids of the cast along with Meyers bring on the smiles and some toe-tapping as they dance and sing their hearts out.

I’m always impressed by the casting and quality of actors at BDT, from leads to ensemble, this cast is no exception.

Young Ralphie, played by Miles Shaw, couldn’t have been better. Shaw embodies Ralphie with great comedic timing and becomes the trouble finding but well-meaning, loveable “wimp” you just adore cheering on. Scott Beyette does a fantastic job portraying the Old Man (a character who very much makes me think of my grandfather) as the crossword puzzle solving, major-award winning, master of profanities (all of which are garbled and indistinguishable throughout the show – but you get the gist)that you can’t help but like. Hayden McDonald plays whiny kid brother Randy well, he’s adorable and funny and if he were your kid brother you’d leave him stranded on his back in the snow too but no one else had better mess with him.  Rounding out this relatable family unit is Joanie Brosseau-Rubald as the Mother. She’s sweet and is the glue that holds the family together. Her performance of “What A Mother Does” is a lovely, beautifully performed and sentimental ode to the oftentimes unsung heroes of households around the world.

All of the great familiar scenes from the movie are included. The awful elves helping the clearly burnt- out store Santa, the triple-dog-dare at the frozen flagpole, the major award – which must be Italian, the pink pajamas, and of course – the Bumpas hounds all make an appearance that culminates in the moment of truth for Ralphie, Christmas Day.

It’s a family-friendly experience that every generation can appreciate and is well-worth taking the time to go see. It is dinner theater so plan on enjoying some delicious food, drinks, and might I recommend the pumpkin bread pudding with bourbon sauce for a delicious seasonal dessert.

Tickets for A Christmas Story, The Musical” are on sale now starting at just $45 and include both the performance and dinner served by the stars of the show. The show runs until Jan. 5 so get your tickets while they last. Group rate tickets and season subscriptions are available for all performances throughout the year. Call (303) 449-6000 or visit www.bdtstage.com for reservations.

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