A Christmas Story: The Musical is a musical version of the film A Christmas Story. The musical has music and lyrics written by Pasek and Paul and the book by Joseph Robinette. The musical takes place in the 1940s in Indiana and focuses on a child named Ralphie, who wants a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas.
After numerous regional productions, out of town tryouts and national tours, the musical originally began previews November 7, 2012 and officially opened November 19, 2012 at the Lunt Fontanne Theatre for a limited engagement that ran through to December 30, 2012.
The musical premiered at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Missouri in December 2009. The music and lyrics for that version were written by Scott Davenport Richards; the musical was directed by Eric Rosen with the book by Joseph Robinette, and featured John Bolton as "The Old Man" and Anne L. Nathan as Mother. Zachary Sayle appeared as Ralphie Parker and Jake Siegfried as younger brother, Randy Parker. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul were hired to re-do the score after the Kansas City engagement.
A Christmas Story: The Musical opened at the 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle, Washington, on December 9, 2010 and ran through December 30, 2010. The director was Eric Rosen with choreography by Kelly Devine, and a cast that featured John Bolton and Anne Allgood as The Old Man and Mother. A national tour in 2011 followed, ending at the Chicago Theatre.
The musical had a limited run in Manhattan in 2012 and 2013. It first appeared on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on November 19, 2012 (after previews initially occurred beginning November 7), and closed on December 30, 2012. The musical was directed by John Rando with choreography by Warren Carlyle. The cast featured Dan Lauria as Jean Shepherd, John Bolton as The Old Man, Caroline O'Connor as Miss Shields, Erin Dilly as Mother, Zac Ballard as Randy, and with Johnny Rabe and Joe West both alternating as lead character Ralphie, played in the 1983 film by Peter Billingsley, one of the show's producers. The Broadway producers were Gerald Goehring, Roy Miller, Michael F. Mitri, Pat Flicker Addiss, Peter Billingsley, Timothy Laczynski, Mariano Tolentino, Jr., Louise H. Beard, Michael Filerman, Scott Hart, Alison Eckert, Bob Bartner, Michael Jenkins, Angela Milonas and Bradford W. Smith.
The production returned to New York for a limited engagement at The Theater at Madison Square Garden that ran from December 11, 2013 to December 29, 2013. The leading principals included Dan Lauria, John Bolton, Erin Dilly and Caroline O'Conner reprising their roles. The character of "Ralphie" was played by Jake Lucas with Eli Tokash at some performances. The role of 'Randy' was played by Noah Baird.
A seasonal national tour of the show has run yearly since 2014. Directed by Matt Lenz the tour is based on the original staging by John Rando with choreography by Warren Carlyle. Sets are by Michael Carnahan, Lighting design by Charlie Morrison and Costumes by Lisa Zinni.
The musical has had several regional productions, including the more recent productions running at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia and at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey, both productions running from November 2015 through January 2016.
The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle had once served as a regional venue for the musical, hosting it from November to December 2014. Additionally, the musical ran during the 2013 season in at the Wang Theatre in Boston, the Woodlawn Theatre in San Antonio, Texas and the Bushnell Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut.
The reviewer of the Seattle production wrote:
Just about every nostalgic, humorous vignette, celebrating a kind of quirky childhood innocence enshrined in America's past, gets an up-tempo romp in the polished, very busy score.... performed with vigor by an admirable cast of 33.... But overall, 'A Christmas Story' looks spiffy, with Walt Spangler's snow-cave design brightened by giant Christmas packages and trees and Howell Binkley's twinkly-tastic lighting. If it's too long a haul, there's a lot here to please kids.
Charles Isherwood, in his review of the Broadway production for The New York Times, wrote:
the stage version lightens up a little on the cute, smart-alecky asides ... making room for the music and allowing the story mostly to speak for itself.... Mr. Pasek and Mr. Paul have provided a likable, perky score that duly translates all of the major episodes in the story into appropriate musical numbers.
The production received two Outer Critics Circle Award nominations but did not win: Outstanding New Broadway Musical and Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Lauria).
The musical earned six Drama Desk Award nominations (58th Drama Desk Awards). as well as three Tony Award nominations (Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre) for the 67th Tony Awards, however it did not win any.