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  • Writer's pictureRob Ervin

Rob Reviews "A Christmas Story: The Musical"

Get your BB guns and leave the bunny suits at home because it’s time for “A Christmas Story: The Musical”! Making its second trip through the Dallas/Fort Worth area for a quick run at the Winspear Opera House, this company brings the classic story of a boy and his journey towards Christmas day to life in a wonderful and fun way that rivals the previous version that I saw a few years ago.

Michael Norman and Ian Shaw share the role of Ralphie here as Chris Cartsen plays the narrator (modeled after original story writer Jean Shepherd) and they lead an excellent cast of characters, highlighted by a group of young people that absolutely shine with great acting and tap dancing skills that are top notch showcased by Wyatt Oswald when he is outside of playing bully Scut Farkus. There are some minor differences in the characters (Ralphie is not blonde, Mother is a bit more bold than she was before, Flick and Schwartz are minimized), but for the most part this musical works really well. As I have said before when reviewing this production, it takes away a bit for me that most of the fantasy sequences are put into one number (“Ralphie to the Rescue!”), and I am sure the Ovaltine subplot was taken out for pacing reasons, but the structure of the story itself keeps the heart and soul of the story intact.

The adult cast members work together with their younger counterparts well, establishing that this is the kids’ story while giving the adults the right amount of presence. Paul Norbrega as The Old Man took a bit of adjustment for me as he is less rugged than the film portrayal by Darren McGavin and a bit goofier, but it fits the character better for numbers like “A Major Award”. Briana Gantsweg takes the changes to the character of Mother and translates them well, and we all know that without the Bumpas’ Hounds making their appearance, it’s just not “A Christmas Story”.

There were a few technical hiccups here and there, but the cast handled them with the highest level of professionalism and kept everything moving smoothly. This musical continues to be a great way to spend an evening, especially during the holiday season, so whether it is here or in your town, take the time to check out “A Christmas Story: The Musical”!

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