Friday December 15th 2017

“A Christmas Story” review by Carol Moore

AChristmasStory-soapHighly Recommended **** Every family has their own holiday traditions.  In my family it was “A Christmas Story”.  For some reason, that was my children’s favorite Christmas movie.  More recently, it’s become one of my favorite plays.  Ralphie, Randy, Flick and the gang are back, in Theatre at the Center’s charming production.  No matter how many times I see this nostalgic story, I always laugh!  I give “A Christmas Story” 4 Spotlights.

“A Christmas Story” has a special connection to Theatre at the Center –  location, location, location!  In case you didn’t know, Ralphie’s home town, Hohman, is actually Hammond, the city just north of TATC.  In fact, playwright Jean Shepherd grew up in my old neighborhood, Hessville.  My dad, Bill Lannin, actually knew these guys (Flick and Schwartz were real people), lived on Cleveland Street, and went to Warren G. Harding School with them.

“A Christmas Story” is narrated by a grown-up Ralph, played by the very talented Rod Thomas.  As Ralph reminisces, the audience meets his family.  Although this is a child’s story, his love for his family comes through loud and clear.

Mother (Linda Gillum), is always there, taking care of the family, deferring to The Old Man (John Lister), and unflappable in the face of calamity.  The Old Man is larger than life, with his colorful vocabulary – especially when he’s offstage dealing with clunkers in the coal-burning furnace or the Bumpuses’ dogs.  Winning a ‘major award’ in a contest is a thrill!

Ralphie doesn’t pay much attention to his younger brother Randy (Nolan Moss), who rarely eats. Ralphie and his friends, Schwartz (Rowan Moxley) and Flick (Charlie Iverson), like boys everywhere, were always on the alert for the neighborhood bully, Scut Farkas (A.J. Anderson).    They didn’t have much time for girls, although Esther Jane (Hannah Clare Horner) was pretty interested in him.  Helen (Ellie Evans) was the smartest kid in Miss Shield’s (Susan Gosdick) class. AChristmasStory-Flick

It’s getting close to Christmas, and Ralphie (Nate Becker) is on a mission.  He wants a genuine Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass and this thing that tells time in the stock.  Unfortunately, everyone from Mother to Santa to Esther Jane warns him that he’ll shoot his eye out!

Just like “you’ll shoot your eye out”, there are certain recurring phrases in “A Christmas Story” which, even out of context, always make me laugh – things like “meat loaf and red cabbage”, “fra-gi-li” and “I Triple-Dog Dare You”.

Opening night, Hammond’s mayor, Thomas McDermott, Jr., welcomed the audience to northwest Indiana’s hometown play and announced that Ralphie will be the grand marshall in Hammond’s Christmas parade.  He also recommended a visit to the Indiana Welcome Center for “A Christmas Story” Comes Home, featuring window displays from Macy’s.  AChristmasStory-vert

“A Christmas Story” runs through December 27th at Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster.  Performances are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2:00 pm; Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00; Sundays at 2:30; and select Thursday and Sunday evenings and Saturday matinees.  Running time is 2 hours, 15 minutes with an intermission.  Tickets range from $40-$44.  Parking is free.  FYI (219) 836-3255 or www.theatreatthecenter.com

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “A Christmas Story”

 

FYI- There is also a musical version of this play, which is opening at the end of the month in Aurora at The Paramount Theatre- look for that review next week!

Leave a Comment

ITEX.com

More from category

“They” reviewed by Jacob Davis
“They” reviewed by Jacob Davis

 Do you ever think that artists’ sniping at each other isn’t really helping them to become better at resisting [Read More]

“Turandot” review by Jacob Davis
“Turandot” review by Jacob Davis

Highly Recommended **** Fairy tales are, by definition, stories that don’t follow the rules of the real world. That [Read More]

“Red Velvet”
“Red Velvet”

Back in 2016, The Raven Theatre was host to the premiere of Lolita Chakrabarti’s “Red Velvet. This is a [Read More]

“The Christmas Schooner”
“The Christmas Schooner”

One can certainly tell when it is the Holiday period in Chicago. Goodman brings out their “A Christmas [Read More]

“Gobsmacked” reviewed by Carol Moore
“Gobsmacked” reviewed by Carol Moore

Highly Recommended **** “Gobsmacked!” absolutely blew me away!  The show is a fast-moving musical revue, featuring [Read More]