A musical rendition of “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out” is just one part of a nostalgic holiday treat coming to Grand Rapids in a big way.
The nationally touring Broadway show A Christmas Story: The Musical is stopping in Grand Rapids for the first time as part of Broadway Grand Rapids’ season.
After numerous regional productions, the musical staging of the 1983 cult classic film debuted in 2012 on Broadway, featuring choreography and musical numbers that bring the timeless and hilarious story to life. Set in 1940s Indiana, the tale follows a bespectacled boy named Ralphie with a big imagination and one wish for Christmas: a Red Ryder BB Gun.
The musical includes more than 20 songs based on the movie’s classic scenes and incorporates plenty of props and characters, such as the kooky leg lamp Ralphie’s father covets, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a cranky department store Santa, grade school bullies, and a triple dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole.
“The musical takes the movie and all of your favorite parts of the movie and takes it up a notch,” said Brooke Martino, an ensemble cast member and dance captain. “It’s such a lovely story. The music is amazing. Pasek and Paul, the writing team, are really creative and really talented.”
Initially hesitant to see the musical version, Martino went to see it on Broadway to support a friend in the cast. It didn’t disappoint.
“I’ve never laughed harder,” she said. “It will be a pleasant surprise, how much you’ll love it. I was hesitant to go because I really loved the movie, but I couldn’t be happier to be working on it for three years.”
The show’s Broadway run garnered three 2013 Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical (Joseph Robinette) and Best Original Score (Benj Pasek and Justin Paul), along with six Drama Desk nominations and two Outer Critics Circle nominations.
The touring version has the same script, score and choreography, and is great for families and adults, Martino said.
“There’s great music and wonderful storytelling,” she said. “The father-son relationship is on a much more heightened level. Now it’s part of my holidays. It’s great for all ages — you can’t go wrong with it.”
Martino helps with the choreography and rehearsals, critiques the show from the audience, and fills in if a female cast member needs to be relieved. The cast and crew have traveled to the West Coast, Midwest and East Coast since the national tour started in 2014. This season, the show will stop in eight cities between mid-November and the week after Christmas, finishing in Grand Rapids.
Although the show runs Dec. 27-30, it’s still a nice way to celebrate the holiday season with family and friends during the week after Christmas, when relatives are still visiting and the kids are out of school.
“People should see it because there is no better way for families to make lasting memories than by celebrating the season doing activities together,” said Meghan Distel, director of marketing and public relations for Broadway Grand Rapids. “A Christmas Story: The Musical is a perennial family favorite and seeing it brought to life on stage is a fun and magical experience!"
A Christmas Story: The Musical
DeVos Performance Hall
303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
Dec. 27-30, $37-$72
broadwaygrandrapids.com, (800) 745-3000