Musical Theater Review: A Christmas Story
© The Flash List |
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Once upon a time, there was a really spectacular cast assembled to perform in the very first production of Dallas Summer Musicals’ 75th anniversary season (that’s show #11,623 in case you’re wondering). And perhaps it’s just a touch of holiday sentimentality on our part, but every single member of this touring cast seems to be right on point and delightfully even better than expected. Based on the classic 1983 movie and nominated for three Tony Awards®, the musical version of A Christmas Story is now running at the Music Hall at Fair Park.
Set in another time and another place (1940’s Indiana on Cleveland Street), a 30ish-foot snowcapped doll-type house glides forward amidst a wintery snow-globe-inspired stage design. And from there unfolds the heartwarming tale of a young boy’s Christmas quest to acquire the gift of his dreams, a coveted Red Ryder® carbine-action BB gun.
On opening night, Paper Mill’s Colton Maurer was outstanding in the iconic role of nine-year-old Ralphie Parker (alternately played by Evan Gray). Saturated with impressive star-power potential, Maurer’s strong voice and remarkable stage presence certainly shine a bright light on his professional future in musical theater.
Actor Chris Carsten narrates as radio personality Jean Shepherd (in an entertaining ‘Alton Brown crosses Mr. Carlson from WKRP in Cincinnati’ kind of way), while Christopher Swan elicits laughs as Ralphie’s dog-dodging, furnace-fighting Old Man whose intensely competitive nature is offset by his satirically-sexy faux-cabaret moves. With a voice as sweetly comforting as the character she plays, Susannah Jones gives a charming portrayal of Ralphie’s mother … even when resolutely pitching in her two cents to the overall anti-gun consensus that “You’ll shoot your eye out kid!” Cal Alexander is perfect as little brother Randy, especially with all of his “aahh mom” attitude, petulantly repeated “did naht”s, and puffy-snowsuit-clad “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” dilemma.
Ralphie’s fellow wimps are comprised of a slew of pint-sized child actors including two area students (12-year-old Grace Moore and 10-year-old Peyton Nicholson) who were chosen by choreographer Jason Sparks at local auditions to appear during the tour’s Dallas run. Avital Asuleen as Miss Shields joins a tux-clad all-kiddo ensemble in performing a particularly ‘dazzly’ tap dance number which ironically takes place at a makeshift speakeasy.
So if you find yourself at a loss for where to celebrate the joy of Christmas this holiday season, have no worries. It’s "Ralphie to the Rescue" with high-action nostalgic entertainment complete with bully-inspired flagpole-lickin’, pink-bunny pajama-wearin’, leg-shaped lamp-breakin’, and more outrageous shenanigans right up until …
… the end.
With tickets starting at $25, and DSM 3-show mini packs on sale for as low as $55, now is a great time to go see A Christmas Story.
We triple dog dare ya!