You know you’re on to something when your story is a success in more than one format. Author Jean Shepard’s A Christmas Story has been a book, a movie, a play, and a musical. All four have delighted readers and audience members for years. Obviously, the film version is the most popular of the four and has become a holiday staple. For many, Christmas isn’t Christmas unless they watch A Christmas Story.
The musical adaptation of A Christmas Story debuted in Kansas City in 2009. This version had music and lyrics by Scott Davenport Richards. His score was discarded however when the show opened in Seattle in 2010. New music and lyrics were created by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Joseph Robinette wrote the book.
After Seattle, the production toured the United States. Then in 2012, A Christmas Story tickets were collected on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. As you might imagine from a holiday-themed show, “A Christmas Story: The Musical” ran from early November to the end of December. Dan Lauria (the dad from The Wonder Years) played Jean Shepard (the narrator in the movie). Broadway regular John Bolton played “The Old Man” (played by Darren McGavin in the movie) and Erin Dilly played the “Mother” (played by Melinda Dillon in the movie).
The part of Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley’s role) was tackled by Johnny Rabe and Joe West. Incidentally, Billingsley is one of the show’s producers. In 2013, the musical ran in Boston, San Antonio, and Hartford with the aforementioned actors (minus the kids who played Ralphie) reprising their roles.
A Christmas Story earned three nominations at the 67th Annual Tony Awards (2013). It received nods for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score. The production is fun, light, and appropriate for kids. It’s striped of some of the acerbic wit found in the movie but since it’s a Christmas show it still works. Songs you’ll hear include “It All Comes Down To Christmas,” “Ralphie to the Rescue,” and “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out.”