"It's a major award!" "Fragile – must be Italian!" "Oh, fudge!"
Chances are, you can immediately identify these lines from the perennial Christmas movie classic, A Christmas Story. It traditionally plays for a solid 24 hours on TBS. However, you can get a jump on this holiday tradition at the Woodlawn Theatre now through December 23. A CHRISTMAS STORY is being performed on the Woodlawn's mainstage. It holds true to the movie's – and the book from whence it came – heart and soul: a little boy who wants nothing more for Christmas than a Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass and this thing that tells time built right into the stock.
Narrated by Ben Scharff, who made me cry from laughter in his turn as William Barfee at the Woodlawn's recent production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, A CHRISTMAS STORY follows Ralphie Parker (Cutter Grant), a 9-year-old with his heart set on the BB gun of his dreams as he deals with the harsh reality laid down by his mother (Theresa Bishop), teacher (Sara Larson Eljemli), and even Santa Claus: he'll shoot his eye out! Despite this, it seems his furnace-battling, turkakonis-loving Old Man (Bob Galindo) understands the wants of a little boy, and perhaps can convince Santa that Ralphie was a good boy this year.
The cast is comprised predominantly of children, and director Greg Hinojosa is to be commended in successfully wrangling them into order. I'm sure it was not without difficulty! It's reassuring that young people are still interested in the performing arts. The Woodlawn Theatre is dedicated to nurturing children in theatre, and I appreciate their commitment to bringing theatre to a new generation.
While not without production flaws (sound and set needed more rehearsal, but I'm sure they'll iron out the wrinkles soon), A CHRISTMAS STORY was a fun retelling of arguably one of my favorite movies of all time and a great way to start getting into the holiday spirit.
A CHRISTMAS STORY runs Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 3:00pm through December 23. Tickets are available at the box office or WoodlawnTheatre.com.