Civic Theatre Proudly Presents: “A Christmas Story,” The Musical
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The Tarkington // Dec 2–24
WEDNESDAY (12/21 ONLY), THURSDAYS & FRIDAYS @ 7:00 P.M. • SATURDAYS (EXCLUDING 12/24*) @ 2:00 P.M. & 7:00 P.M
SUNDAYS @ 2:00 P.M. • CHRISTMAS EVE (12/24) PERFORMANCE @ 12:00 P.M.
“A Christmas Story, The Musical,” which received rave reviews on its Broadway run, is based on the movie classic that runs round-the-clock on television every Christmas. Set in the 1940s in the fictional town of Hohman, Indiana, the musical follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker and his quest for the Holy Grail of Christmas gifts — an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle. Rebuffed at every turn with a similar echoing response, Ralphie plots numerous schemes to achieve his desperate desire for the coveted BB gun.
While speaking with a few of the lead cast members and director, I was reminded of how extraordinary the Civic Theatre organization is all over again. I spoke with a few of these remarkable local talents who shared their thoughts about their respective roles, performing for a Civic holiday production and the role that “A Christmas Story” plays in most families’ holiday traditions.
Director Emily Rogge Tzucker shared that there will be fun and festive eye candy throughout the production, including leg lamps, a giant spinning slide, rotating scenes showcasing the versatility of the stage and so much more that will immerse audiences into Ralphie’s world and imagination.
Emily Rogge Tzucker – Director
“I think Christmas time, in general, is about rituals and traditions. We look at doing things that we know and at doing them with our families and our community. Attending any Christmas production is something that we like to make a family tradition, and the wonderful thing about Civic is that they really pick shows that they will repeat so you can make them a tradition, and they pick stories that we are really connected to. It’s set in Hammond, Indiana, and it celebrates the idea of families, in hard times, and you see parents working really hard to be the best for their families. I think we’re all doing that right now, because it’s such a crazy world. Kids are trying to figure things out and find out who they are. In the story, it isn’t so much about the item that Ralphie so desires as it is about what it means to kind of grow up and learn to stand on your own two feet.
One of the great things about Pasek and Paul’s version of the movie is that it blows up all of those imaginative dream sequences into fully realized and fully lived performance numbers. I think it’s great to see an imagination blown up right in front of you — it’s so exciting!”
Parrish Williams – Old Man
“People love the original movie, and I’m certainly not going to do an impersonation of Darren McGavin or anything like that, but I want to do justice by the original performance [of the Old Man] and make people feel nostalgic and have a good time. I see a lot of my own family and growing up in this [A Christmas Story] family. The dad works a lot and maybe isn’t as present in the home, and the mom is kind of doing everything, and the kids kind of walk around on eggshells around the dad — I can relate to all of that.
Removing the Covid years, this will be the third straight year I will have done a holiday show at Civic, and the reason why I’ve come back is because of the joy that happens on the stage. Holiday shows are difficult to do and create demands on your personal time, but the joy that happens is unmatched and you feel really good about being able to give that gift to the audiences. When you’ve been in a holiday show at Civic and you see how much the audiences enjoy it and how much they get out of it, it makes it worth coming back and doing.”
Jackson Duncan (13) – Ralphie Parker
“I think everyone in this cast is super kind, nice and welcoming. This is my first Civic show, and it’s been wonderful so far. I really love my character. He’s funny and tries to be that cute kid but also kind of has an older, more mature side that he lets go of at certain points of the show.
I really like how ‘A Christmas Story’ takes place a long time ago. They didn’t have cell phones back then! It was a lot different, and they had weird cars and lots of other stuff. I think it can really open your eyes!
I really like the opening number [It All Comes Down to Christmas], and I think it brings a lot of passion and warmth into the show. It lets you know what you’re going to see, and I really like the ‘When You’re a Wimp’ number with the kids. I think its funny, and it shows the humor in this show. I hope that the people that come to see the show leave with happy and joyful spirits. I hope they think it was very interesting and something that they’ll never forget. It’s a funny show, but it’s also full of talent and joy, and I think it sends a really good message to people that will get them in the holiday spirit.”
Henry Kirk (11) – Randy Parker
“Just like Jackson, it’s my first time being at Civic and it’s my first time actually being on a pro stage. So, it’s just a really cool experience, and it opens your eyes to what you’re experiencing. It’s the closest thing to Broadway that you can get here in Indianapolis, and I feel that it’s a very good experience. All of the casting directors and cast are amazing people, and they’re welcoming, awesome people. I can connect with them because they have the same talents and passions.
My favorite scene so far is ‘When You’re a Wimp,’ because it’s such a funny number. So, you’re like a kid and you’re with your friends and then all of a sudden, the bullies come along and you’re like, ‘Oh no!’ and it’s choreographed but it feels like an improv scene! It’s just a very fun number!
What I want people to take away from this show is that we put so much effort into doing the show and in trying to make them happy. I want them to laugh and laugh and just have a really good time — and like Jackson said, ‘to take away the message,’ because it’s a good one, and I want them to take that away.”
Mikayla Koharchik – Mother
“I think about the core memories that I’m creating for my kids and the traditions that they will look back on and talk about. And I feel like theater and productions are at the center of those core memories, especially around the holiday season. When I read the script [of A Christmas Story] and/or listen to the music, I get weepy because you’re only a little kid for so long and then you’re grown up. I feel like Ralphie is this little kid who grew up that Christmas.
I feel like I’m playing myself in this show, as I’ve got two little boys at home and everything that I say in this show are things that I say to my kids like, ‘Hurry up, we’re late! Let’s go!’ One of my character’s songs is called, ‘What a Mother Does’ and she says, ‘There’s so much to do, a house to look festive, a family that’s counting on you …’ and basically, she’s talking about how she wants to build these memories with her kids. We want our kids to forget about the times that have been tough and build these core memories. I can’t wait to share this [experience] with the community, and I also can’t wait for my kids to come see this show!”
We all get busy in the hype of our lives, so this holiday season, take a pause … and build those “core” memories. The return on that investment is priceless.
Purchase your tickets for “A Christmas Story, The Musical” online now, and for more information on upcoming shows, visit civictheatre.org.
Note: The December 11 performance at 2 p.m. is designated as an inclusive performance, designed to create a welcoming experience that is intended for patrons who have social, cognitive, or physical challenges that create sensory sensitivities. An ASL interpreter will also be available. Large-print programs are also available for the visually impaired upon request.
Jean Shepard – Steve Kruze
Ralphie Parker – Jackson Duncan
Randy Parker – Henry Kirk
Mother – Mikayla Koharchik
Old Man – Parrish Williams
Schwartz – Thomas Murray
Flick – Lawson Leavell
Scut Farkus – Dylan Acquaviva
Dill – Evan Cohen
Miss Shields – Nina Stilabower
Santa – Jon Osgood
Esther Jane – Ellie Raybuck
Mary Beth – Liv Keslin