By Lucia Volker
A Christmas Story, The Musical is a musical-theater riff on the classic, holiday comedy. “I desperately wanted this show to be part of our first season, because it has strong ties to Olympia,” says Kyle Murphy, managing director of Broadway Olympia Productions, “and watching the movie is also one if my most-cherished childhood memories. I still remember the first time I saw it, at the home of a family friend in Kennewick when I was about six or so.” Olympia’s own Ian Eisendrath was the original musical director of the production, which starred Olympia-born actors Clarke Hallum and Jenny Shotwell. The musical debuted on Fifth Avenue in New York, toured nationally and has become a Broadway staple. Eisendrath and Murphy grew up performing musical theater together, so that connection and Murphy’s childhood memories of the film made it a natural choice. “I wanted to do a show during the holiday season,” Murphy says, “that evoked both nostalgia and a sense of pride in our community. I could think of no better choice, and we were fortunate to get the rights.”
The 1940s-set movie A Christmas Story (1983) features a young boy named Ralphie who desperately wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. His parents are hesitant. The film and musical follow Ralphie through a series of comedic, Christmas adventures. The musical actively engages with audience, encouraging listeners to think of their own wants and dreams in the context of Christmas and beyond. Director Rick Hornor comments, “Each of us retains vivid memories of Christmases past — some awkward or painful but, we hope, most warm and satisfying. A Christmas Story brings to life all of those memories so each member of the audience will see and hear it in her or his own way.”
Broadway Olympia Productions is a local organization committed to providing new opportunities to Olympia and Thurston County. It brings high-quality, musical theater to the public. Most of its actors live in Thurston County. The combination of emerging and experienced actors in this production reinforces the company’s mission of creating opportunities. Several seasoned actors have come out of retirement for this show. With so many emotional ties to the story, each actor brings a personal history to the production, as will audience members.
A Christmas Story, The Musical
7:30 p.m. Thursday – Monday, Dec. 20-24;
1 p.m. Saturday– Monday, Dec. 22-24
206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia