Theater Review: “A Christmas Story: The Musical” Is Delightful and Familiar

Kevin Taft reviews the delightful theater production of A Christmas Story: The Musical, which is showing at the Ahmanson Theater in Downtown Los Angeles.
User Rating: 6.5

Step into the whimsical world of “A Christmas Story: The Musical,” where festive cheer meets playful antics! This musical adaptation, as light and nostalgic as the beloved movie, is a delightful holiday treat that won’t revolutionize the stage, but it’s like a sugar-coated snowball of seasonal joy.

Joseph Robinette’s adaptation of Jean Shepherd’s original work takes the Parker family on a merry, musical adventure. Led by the energetic and talented Kai Edgar as little Ralphie, the musical unfolds the hilarious saga of Ralphie’s unwavering quest for the coveted Red Rider BB Gun. Despite warnings of “you’ll shoot your eye out” from every direction, Ralphie remains resolute, concocting an array of schemes to make his Christmas dream a reality.

See Also: Theater Preview: Powerhouse Megan Hilty Brings Holiday Magic to the O.C.!

The tunes, crafted by Broadway darlings Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (of “The Greatest Showman” and “Dear Evan Hansen” fame), might not be as instantly catchy as their later hits, but they channel a classic, old-school family-friendly musical vibe. Picture the entire production as an elevated community theater extravaganza, complete with dazzling set designs and standout performances from the lead actors.

Eric Petersen, known for his roles in “Shrek: The Musical” and FX’s “Kevin Can Go F**k Himself,” often steals the spotlight as Ralphie’s father, a man on a mission to claim the infamous Leg Lamp. Sabrina Sloan, portraying Ralphie’s mother, brings a perfect balance of fun and sanity to the chaotic household. Shelly Regner adds a touch of sass and personality to the mix as the vivacious Miss Shields, belting out a show-stopping number in a 1930s speakeasy setting. But it is Kai Edgar’s performance Ralphie that truly makes this musical shine.

The whole affair feels like a spirited “let’s put on a show” production, elevated with top-notch set design and a cast of talented kids who add a dash of youthful exuberance. With its nostalgic Christmas sets and heartwarming vibes, “A Christmas Story” is tailor-made for families and a delightful introduction to the enchanting world of musicals for young dreamers. So, grab a seat, sip on some metaphorical warm hot chocolate, and let the holiday magic unfold on stage!

“A Christmas Story: The Musical” runs through Dec 31st at the Ahmanson Theater in Downtown Los Angeles. For more information and tickets, visit www.centertheatergroup.org

6.5
Fair
Written by
Kevin is a long-time movie buff with a wide variety of tastes and fixations in the film world. He cried the moment Benji appeared onscreen in “Benji,” and it took him about four times to finally watch “The Exorcist” (at age 24) without passing out. “Star Wars: A New Hope” was the movie that changed everything and when his obsession with films and filmmaking began. A screenwriter himself (one long-ago horror script sale to New Line remains on a shelf), his first film "Two Tickets to Paradise" that he co-wrote premiered in June 2022 on Hallmark. He is currently working on another for the iconic brand.

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