You won’t be eye-popping, but you might laugh to tears during the production of ‘A Christmas Story: The Musical’ at the Stockton Civic Theatre.
By now, the plot of the holiday staple – soon to be aired on endless loop on television – is well known. Set in 1940s Indiana and nine-year-old Ralphie Parker’s quest for an official Red Ryder 200-Round Range Model Air Rifle.
The story hits all the classic moments:
There’s Ralph and Randy who dress like they’re going scuba diving to walk to school in the freezing cold.
The old man, whose first name if I heard correctly is Frank, mukkl duddle doing a series of obscenities still hovering over Lake Michigan.
Scut Farkus and his toad Grover Dill terrorize the other children.
And of course the mast, the fight, the tire change, the bunny costume, and the major prize and so on.
Local activities: 11 things to do this weekend in Stockton and San Joaquin County
But no matter how familiar you are with the story, seeing it live brings another dimension, the characters come to life and it’s like seeing an old friend who manages to engage and surprise you.
And seeing it as a musical makes it even more fun.
The Saturday, November 27 show was to a packed house with people easily laughing at the jokes, shaking their heads to the music, and generally having a good time.
It was a large cast of at least 30 actors.
The list is too long to name each one individually, check the roadmap for that information.
Christmas and New Year : Tree Festival returns to San Joaquin County Historical Museum
However, in stage times, special praise goes to:
Ron Smith, who plays narrator Jean Shepherd; Gavin Latta, Ralphie; Erin Shelby, mom; Brad DeMoss, The Old Man; and Declan DeMoss, Randy.
They carry the show but with strong support from the rest of the cast.
They play their roles well, their voices are particularly strong, the dancing well choreographed and the fun abounding.
Co-directors James Reed and Joe Smith are to be commended for how they shaped this show. Extra applause for conductor Jonathan Latta, choreographer Esther Henderson, music director Robert Hull and set designer Joey Vincent who made extensive use of the limited space to create a number of different locations.
In short, put this on your Christmas viewing schedule with the Stockton Symphony and Stockton Chorale’s performance of Handel’s Messiah and ‘The Nutcracker’.
They are all worth seeing.
And at least in the case of “A Christmas Story: The Musical,” you won’t be eye-popping.