Article submitted by Paul Joyce
Try this: Mention A Christmas Story to a few friends then stand back and watch the reaction. Guaranteed, eyes will widen, smiles will appear, and you’ll hear “I love that show!”
For millions of people, a holiday viewing of A Christmas Story is a family tradition. There’s actually an American TV network that has been airing “24 Hours of A Christmas Story” — that’s 12 consecutive showings of the film, each Christmas since 1997.
So what is it about this story of Ralphie and his yearning for a Red Ryder BB gun (you know, “the Carbine Action one, the 200-shot model with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time”) that strikes such a cord? It’s a simple story about dreams, those special Christmas dreams we all had as kids, so timeless, so charming, and so beautifully rendered by the story’s creator, Jean Shepherd.
Just in time for this year’s Christmas dreams, the stage version of A Christmas Story premieres at the Studio Theatre on Nov. 30, adapted by Philip Grecian from Jean Shepherd’s enduring stories about his Midwest childhood. Patricia Parry, director of the Studio Theatre’s production, has seen the way people react to this much-loved story, and she’s thrilled to be able to bring it to Perth.
“I’ve met so many people who watch the movie year after year, and know the story of Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB gun inside and out” she says. “The play is very faithful to the film; when Philip Grecian adapted Jean Shepherd’s story for the stage he knew he had to retain all the things people love about it. His script is simply wonderful.”
Director Parry has assembled a great cast to tell this beloved story, with ages ranging from four to mid-60s. Sam Brown plays young Ralphie, Carell Allen is his mother, and veteran character actor Grey Masson plays grown up Ralph. Well known local actor Jerry Logan plays “The Old Man” (young Ralphie’s father), and Deb Ward is Miss Shields, Ralphie’s teacher. Jamie Graham plays Schwartz, Hunter Rigby is Flick, Addison Brown is Helen, Maeve Elliot plays Esther Jane, and Caine Elliot and Anthony Nelson share the role of Randy, Ralphie’s younger brother. Lots of young talent eager to bring a great story to the stage, in a play that everyone will enjoy.
Behind the scenes, Penny Silberhorn is stage manager, ably assisted by Annie Mulligan; Reiner Silberhorn is set designer and builder; Paula Batt handles props, Mike Ward lighting, Julia Egener is the show’s costumer, and Isabel Joyce is the producer.
A Christmas Story premieres at the Studio Theatre Nov. 30 for seven performances, Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 2, 3, 9 and 10 at 2 p.m.. (PLEASE NOTE: For this production, both Saturday shows (Dec. 2 and Dec. 9) are 2 p.m. matinees only.) Advance tickets are $24, and are now available exclusively at Tickets Please in the Matheson House Museum Visitor Centre, 11 Gore St. E. Perth (613 485-6434; ticketsplease.ca).
Tickets are $24 at the Studio Theatre box office on show nights. SPECIAL CHILDREN’S ADVANCE TICKET PRICE of just $10 for kids under 12. Rush tickets for Students with ID are just $10 at the door, subject to availability. Attend opening night and save $5. Remember Perth’s Santa Claus Parade, Saturday, Dec. 2nd starting at 5pm.
Visit studiotheatreperth.com for full details.