A Christmas Story, The Musical Review – The Age of Innocence

Jordan Coates, Emilie Ong, Kayden Alexander Koshelev, Kyle Montgomery, Shelley Regner, Zeke Bernier, Juliana Godfrey, Trent Mills, Eric Petersen, Michael James, Julia Harnett, Andrew Ge, Gabbie Fried, Izzy Pike, Jacob Pham, Addalie Burns, and Greta Rebecca Kleinman in A CHRISTMAS STORY - Photo by Craig Schwartz Photography.
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A CHRISTMAS STORY first appeared as a film in 1983, inspiring the 2009 stage version, which premiered in Missouri. It was soon followed by a production in Seattle, Washington, in 2010 and Broadway runs in 2012 and 2013. With book by Joseph Robinette and music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the holiday musical received multiple award nominations in 2013 (Outer Critic Circle Award, Drama Desk Award, and Tony Award). Since 2014, there have been annual national tours. Clearly, this Christmas favorite has appealed to people in every corner of the U.S. In 2023, the Ahmanson Theatre presents A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL, as its holiday gift to Los Angeles audiences.

Chris Carsten as Jean Shepherd – Photo by Craig Schwartz Photography.

The place is Indiana, and the time is the 1940s. Surrounded by holiday decorations, radio disc jockey Jean Shepherd (Chris Carsten) begins to reminisce about his childhood and what family meant to him. His memories soon morph into young Ralphie Parker (Kai Edgar) and younger brother Randy (Henry Witcher), who live with their father/the “Old Man” (Eric Petersen) and their mother (Sabrina Sloan). Ralphie longs for just one thing for Christmas – a Red Ryder BB gun. But his mother (and lots of others) warn that he would shoot out his eye – and so Ralphie begins planning and plotting to make his Christmas dream come true. Meanwhile, town bully Scut Farkus (Jordan Coates) and sidekick Grover Dill (Zeke Bernier) try their best to make Ralphie’s life hell, while neighborhood kid Schwartz (Kayden Alexander Koshelev) cons Ralphie’s kind-of-dumb buddy Flick (Jack Casey) into the old tongue on a freezing flagpole trick. This is life in small town Indiana – except that Ralphie seems doomed to fail in his quest for that Red Ryder bolt action air rifle. Even Santa (Kyle Montgomery) doesn’t seem interested in Ralphie’s plight.

Charlie Stover, Shelley Regner, and Addalie Burns – Photo by Craig Schwartz Photography.

Director Matt Lenz helms the cast of 33 with precision and an eye to letting so many talented youngsters shine. From enthusiastic tap dances to soulful songs, A CHRISTMAS STORY keeps its eye on the holiday spirit. This is a festive and nostalgic trip back 80 years ago, a time when life was simpler and kids were kids. Songs are charming, and the production is splashy and colorful. Events are humorous, poignant, and wistfully sentimental in Ralphie’s world, a world peopled by stay-at-home moms, loving but stern dads, holiday roast turkeys, and a couple of cute pooches.

Henry Witcher, Sabrina Sloan, Kai Edgar, and Eric Petersen – Photo by Craig Schwartz Photography.

Michael Carnahan’s scenic design reflects the time and spirit, with Charlie Morrison’s lighting and Brian Hsieh’s sound adding to the overall festive atmosphere. Song and dance abound, all adapted from the original Broadway production. A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL is perfect fare for the holiday season – and it’s family friendly to boot.

Andrew Ge, Shelley Regner, Izzy Pike, Kyle Montgomery, Michael James, Julia Harnett, Gabriel Navarro, and Gabbie Fried – Photo by Craig Schwartz Photography.

A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL runs through December 31, 2023 with performances at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, at 2 p.m. and 8 pm. on Saturdays, and at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Sundays, The Ahmanson Theatre is located at 135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012. For information and reservations, call 213-628-2772 or go online.


1 Comment

  1. Lovely review. Important to note, Kai Edgar plays Ralphie Parker, Shelley Regner plays Miss Shields, Jordan Coates plays Scut Farkus, and Zeke Bernier plays Grover Dill.

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