A Christmas Story: The Musical

A Christmas Story: The Musical is a musical version of the 1983 film A Christmas Story. The musical has music and lyrics written by Pasek & Paul and the book by Joseph Robinette. The musical takes place in the 1940s in Indiana and focuses on a child named Ralphie, who wants a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas.

A Christmas Story
The Musical
A Christmas Story The Musical.jpg
MusicBenj Pasek and Justin Paul
LyricsBenj Pasek and Justin Paul
BookJoseph Robinette
BasisA Christmas Story
by Jean Shepherd
Leigh Brown
Bob Clark
Productions2009 Kansas City, Missouri
2010 Seattle, Washington
2011 National tour
2012 Broadway
2013 National tour
2017 Live television

After numerous regional productions, out of town tryouts and national tours, this version of the musical originally officially opened on Broadway in November 2012 at the Lunt Fontanne Theatre for a limited engagement that ran through December 2012.

Production historyEdit

The musical premiered at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Missouri in December 2009. The music and lyrics for that version were written by Scott Davenport Richards; the musical was directed by Eric Rosen with the book by Joseph Robinette, and featured John Bolton as "The Old Man" and Anne L. Nathan as Mother.[1] Zachary Sayle appeared as Ralphie Parker and Jake Siegfried as younger brother, Randy Parker. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul were hired to re-do the score after the Kansas City engagement.[2]

A Christmas Story: The Musical opened at the 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle, Washington, on December 9, 2010[3] and ran through December 30, 2010. The director was Eric Rosen with choreography by Kelly Devine, and a cast that featured John Bolton and Anne Allgood as The Old Man and Mother.[4] A national tour in 2011 followed, ending at the Chicago Theatre.[5]

New York CityEdit

The musical had a limited run in Manhattan in 2012 and 2013. It opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on November 19, 2012 (after previews beginning November 7), and closed on December 30, 2012. The musical was directed by John Rando with choreography by Warren Carlyle. The cast featured Dan Lauria as Jean Shepherd, John Bolton as The Old Man, Caroline O'Connor as Miss Shields, Erin Dilly as Mother, Zac Ballard as Randy, and with Johnny Rabe and Joe West both alternating as lead character Ralphie, played in the 1983 film by Peter Billingsley, one of the show's producers.[6][7] The Broadway producers were Gerald Goehring, Roy Miller, Michael F. Mitri, Pat Flicker Addiss, Peter Billingsley, Timothy Laczynski, Mariano Tolentino, Jr., Louise H. Beard, Michael Filerman, Scott Hart, Alison Eckert, Bob Bartner, Michael Jenkins, Angela Milonas and Bradford W. Smith.

The production returned to New York for a limited engagement at The Theater at Madison Square Garden that ran from December 11, 2013 to December 29, 2013. The principals included Dan Lauria, John Bolton, Erin Dilly and Caroline O'Conner reprising their roles. The character of "Ralphie" was played by Jake Lucas with Eli Tokash at some performances. The role of 'Randy' was played by Noah Baird.[8]

National tourEdit

A seasonal national tour of the show has run yearly since 2014. Directed by Matt Lenz the tour is based on the original staging by John Rando with choreography by Warren Carlyle. Sets are by Michael Carnahan, lighting design by Charlie Morrison and costumes by Lisa Zinni. The 2019 tour will begin in November 2019 in Sacramento, California at the Memorial Auditorium. The 2019 tour production is again directed by Matt Lenz, staged by Michael Rader with Warren Carlyle's Broadway choreography reset for the tour by Brooke Martino. Ian Shaw and Tommy Druhan alternate in the role of Ralphie.[9]

2017 television broadcastEdit

In May 2017, the Fox Broadcasting Company announced that it would air a live television event based on the Broadway musical version titled A Christmas Story Live!, with Pasek and Paul composing several new songs for the live television musical. The live musical was televised on December 17, 2017, with the cast that starred Maya Rudolph as Ralphie's mother,[10] Matthew Broderick as The Narrator/Older Ralphie,[11] 11-year-old Andy Walken as Ralphie, Jane Krakowski as Miss Shields, Chris Diamantopoulos as Ralphie's father,[12] and Ana Gasteyer as Mrs. Schwartz, the mother of one of Ralphie's friends. The production added several new songs and cut three of the songs from the original Broadway production.

Regional productionsEdit

The musical has had several regional productions, including the more recent productions running at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia and at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey, both productions running from November 2015 through January 2016.[13][14]

The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle had once served as a regional venue for the musical, hosting it from November to December 2014.[15] Additionally, the musical ran during the 2013 season in at the Wang Theatre in Boston, the Woodlawn Theatre in San Antonio, Texas and the Bushnell Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut.[16]

International productionsEdit

A Christmas Story premiered in Europe at Waterloo East Theatre London SE1 8TG on November 28, 2018.[17]


Act 1

After passing a Salvation Army Santa, radio disc jockey Jean Shepherd tells his audience that it reminds him of a highly important Christmas from his childhood in Indiana, told through the eyes of young Ralphie Parker. In December 1940, Ralphie plans to convince his parents to get him his dream present ("It All Comes Down To Christmas"). The family goes to Higbees department store where, in the window, Ralphie sees the present in question, a "Red Ryder Carbine Action BB Gun".

The next day, while Ralphie's father struggles with his entry in a crossword puzzle contest ("Genius On Cleveland Street"), Ralphie accidentally blurts out what he wants, which his mother promptly shuts down with the classic excuse "You'll shoot your eye out". On the way to school, Ralphie, his brother Randy and his friends are accosted by bully Scut Farkus and his toady Grover Dill ("When You're A Wimp").

In class, Ralphie's teacher, Ms. Shields, assigns a theme on what the class wants for Christmas. This makes Ralphie think he can use his theme to get Ms. Shields to talk his parents into getting the gun for him ("Ralphie To The Rescue"), but he starts to lose heart as the weeks pass without the paper being graded.

One night during dinner ("That's What A Mother Does"), Mr. Parker is informed by telegram that he's won an award in the contest. Soon after, the award arrives: a lamp shaped like a woman's leg. Despite Mrs. Parker's clear disgust, Mr. Parker puts it in the front window for all to see ("A Major Award").

While going to get a tree, the family car gets a flat. Ralphie helps his father change the tire by carrying a hubcap full of the tire's bolts. When it's accidentally knocked out of his hands, he seemingly says "Oh fudge.", though Shepherd clarifies he actually said "the F--- word". He gets in huge trouble for this and though he claims he heard it from his friend Schwartz- he really heard it from his father- which in turn gets Schwartz in trouble with his mom, he becomes worried that this incident will doom his Christmas ("Act 1 Finale").

Act 2

Determined to save his Christmas, Ralphie tries to behave the rest of the month. However, this is jeapordized on the last day before winter break when Schwartz "triple dog dares" their friend Flick to stick his tongue to a pole to see if it will stick ("Sticky Situation"). It does and though no one is caught, the fire department is called to free him. Worse, when the themes are finally returned, Ralphie only gets a C+ instead of the expected A and a note repeating the dreaded phrase ("You'll Shoot Your Eye Out").

On the way home, Ralphie is again accosted by Scut and Grover. Finally snapping, he attacks them in a blind rage, spewing curses all the while. His mother eventually pulls him off and takes him home and though he's frightened of what will happen, she reassures him and lets the matter drop ("Just Like That").

Still with no way to get the gun, Ralphie next tries the Santa working "At Higbees". This is also a failure, as he's once again told "You'll shoot your eye out" ("Up On Santa's Lap") On Christmas Eve, Mrs. Parker "accidentally" breaks the lamp, leading to a big argument with her husband, though they soon make up ("Before The Old Man Comes Home"). That night, all the kids struggle to sleep as they anticipate the coming morning ("Somewhere Hovering Over Indiana").

On Christmas morning, the family receives gifts of varying quality, including a humiliating pair of pink bunny pajamas for Ralphie. At the last moment, Mr. Parker reveals he got Ralphie the gun. However, when he goes outside, the first shot ricochets and hits his glasses, breaking them. Luckily, he makes up a story about a fallen icicle and his mother doesn't learn the truth.

When the neighbor's dogs eat the family's Christmas turkey, they go to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. Despite the setbacks, they and other families have a great Christmas and that night, Ralphie falls asleep with his cherished gun in his arms ("A Christmas Story").


Characters Original Tour (2011) Original Broadway Cast (2012) Original U.S. Tour Cast


Live Broadcast Cast (2017)
Ralphie Parker Clarke Hallum Johnny Rabe

Joe West

Evan Gray

Colton Maurer

Andy Walken
Randy Parker Matthew Lewis Zac Ballard Cal Alexander Tyler Wladis
Jean Shepherd Gene Weygandt Dan Lauria Max Thayer Matthew Broderick (as Ralphie as an Adult)
Mother Rachel Bay Jones Erin Dilly Susannah Jones Maya Rudolph
The Old Man John Bolton John Bolton Christopher Swan Chris Diamantopoulos
Miss Shields Karen Mason Caroline O'Connor Avital Asuleen Jane Krakowski
Schwartz Jake Bennett Siegfried J.D. Rodriguez Seth Black-Diamond Sammy Ramirez
Flick Nicholas Daniel Gonzalez Jeremy Shinder JJ Batteast
Scut Farkus Charlie Plummer Jack Mastrianni Sacha Carlson
Grover Dill John Francis Babbo John Francis Babbo Elie Samouhi
Esther Jane Drea Gordon Analise Scarpaci Hayley Shukiar
Mary Beth Casey Gorab Beatrice Tulchin
Santa Adam Pelty Eddie Korbich Adam Pelty David Alan Grier
Mrs. Schwartz Kirsten Wyatt Kirsten Wyatt Ana Gasteyer
Restaurant Waiter Andrew Cristi Andrew Cristi Ken Jeong
Elves at Higbee's Andrew Cristi and Kirsten Wyatt Andrew Cristi and Kirsten Wyatt Fred Armisen


  • Ralphie Parker: A little boy who wants a Red Ryder Carbine Action Range Model Air Rifle with a compass in the stock and a thing that tells time.
  • Jean Shepherd: Old Ralphie who narrates the story.
  • The Old Man: The gruff father of Ralphie and Randy.
  • Mother: The glue who holds the Parker family together.
  • Randy: Ralphie's kid brother.
  • Miss Shields: Ralphie's teacher.
  • Schwartz: Ralphie's foul mouthed friend; his family is Jewish in A Christmas Story Live!
  • Flick: Ralphie's dim friend who gets his tongue stuck to a flag pole.
  • Scut Farkus: The class bully who gets beaten up by Ralphie.
  • Grover Dill: Scut's right-hand man.
  • Esther Jane: Ralphie's love interest.
  • Mary Beth: Esther Jane's best friend.
  • Santa: A mean old mall Santa.

Musical numbersEdit

Act 1
  • "Overture" - Orchestra
  • "It All Comes Down to Christmas" - Ralphie, the Parkers, and Ensemble
  • "Red Ryder Carbine Action BB Gun" - Ralphie and Jean
  • "It All Comes Down to Christmas (Reprise)" - Ralphie and Company
  • "The Genius on Cleveland Street" - The Old Man and Mother
  • "When You're a Wimp" - Kids
  • "Ralphie to the Rescue!" - Ralphie, Miss Shields, the Old Man, Mother, Randy, and Ensemble
  • "What a Mother Does" - Mother
  • "A Major Award" - The Old Man, Mother, and Neighbors
  • "Parker Family Singalong" - The Parkers
  • "Act One Finale" - Ralphie and Ensemble
Act 2
  • "Entr'acte" - Orchestra
  • "Sticky Situation" - Ralphie, Flick, Schwartz, Kids, Miss Shields, Nurse, Flick's Mom, Fireman, Policeman, and Doctor
  • "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out" - Miss Shields and Kids
  • "Just Like That" - Mother
  • "At Higbee's" - Elves
  • "Up on Santa's Lap" - Santa, Elves, Ralphie, Randy, and Kids
  • "Before the Old Man Comes Home" - The Parkers
  • "Somewhere Hovering Over Indiana" - Ralphie, Randy, and Kids
  • "Ralphie to the Rescue! (Reprise)" - Ralphie and Ensemble
  • "A Christmas Story" - The Parkers and Full Company

Critical receptionEdit

The reviewer of the Seattle production wrote:

Just about every nostalgic, humorous vignette, celebrating a kind of quirky childhood innocence enshrined in America's past, gets an up-tempo romp in the polished, very busy score.... performed with vigor by an admirable cast of 33.... But overall, 'A Christmas Story' looks spiffy, with Walt Spangler's snow-cave design brightened by giant Christmas packages and trees and Howell Binkley's twinkly-tastic lighting. If it's too long a haul, there's a lot here to please kids.[19]

Charles Isherwood, in his review of the Broadway production for The New York Times, wrote:

[T]he stage version lightens up a little on the cute, smart-alecky asides... making room for the music and allowing the story mostly to speak for itself.... Mr. Pasek and Mr. Paul have provided a likable, perky score that duly translates all of the major episodes in the story into appropriate musical numbers.[20]

Nominated awardsEdit

The production received two Outer Critics Circle Award nominations but did not win: Outstanding New Broadway Musical and Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Lauria).[21]

The musical received six Drama Desk Award nominations (58th Drama Desk Awards).[22] as well as three Tony Award nominations (Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre) for the 67th Tony Awards,[23] however it did not win any.

Original Broadway productionEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2013 Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding New Broadway Musical Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Dan Lauria Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical John Bolton Nominated
Outstanding Choreography Warren Carlyle Nominated
Outstanding Music Pasek & Paul Nominated
Outstanding Book of a Musical Joseph Robinette Nominated
Outstanding Orchestrations Larry Blank Nominated
Tony Award
Best Musical Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Joseph Robinette Nominated
Best Original Score Pasek & Paul Nominated


  1. ^ Siraguso, Frank. "'A Christmas Story, the Musical!' at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Review" infozine.com, December 6, 2009
  2. ^ Piepenburg, Erik. "That Wish for a BB Gun, Set to Song and Dance" New York Times, December 5, 2011
  3. ^ "5th Avenue Theatre Presents 'A Christmas Story'". Broadwayworld.com, November 9, 2010
  4. ^ Bacalzo, Dan. "Anne Allgood, John Bolton, Clarke Hallum, Orville Mendoza, et al. Set for 5th Avenue Theatre's 'A Christmas Story: The Musical!'" at theatermania.com, October 19, 2012
  5. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "John Rando Will Direct 'Christmas Story' Tour; John Bolton, Gene Weygandt, Rachel Bay Jones Star" Archived 2013-06-05 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, September 30, 2011
  6. ^ Oxfeld, Jesse.Review of A Christmas Story: The Musical, The Observer, November 19, 2012.
  7. ^ Listing playbillvault.com, accessed May 2, 2013
  8. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "'A Christmas Story, The Musical' Ends New York City Return Engagement Dec. 29" Playbill, December 29, 2013
  9. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Cast Set for National Tour of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s A Christmas Story Musical" Playbill, October 17, 2019
  10. ^ "'A Christmas Story' Live Musical Set at Fox". Variety. 12 May 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  11. ^ McPhee, Ryan. "Matthew Broderick Joins Cast of Fox's 'A Christmas Story Live!' " Playbill, September 21, 2017
  12. ^ McPee, Ryan. "Jane Krakowski and Chris Diamantopoulos Join Fox's 'A Christmas Story Live!' " Playbill, October 18, 2017
  13. ^ "'A Christmas Story the Musical' Listing" walnutstreettheatre.org, accessed October 18, 2015
  14. ^ "Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn announces groundbreaking lineup for 2015-16 season" NJ.com, accessed February 24, 2015
  15. ^ "Press Release. A Christmas Story, the Musical" 5thavenue.org, October 28, 2014
  16. ^ name=adam Hetrick, Adam. "'A Christmas Story, The Musical' Will Return for 2013 Holiday Season" Archived May 7, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Playbill, April 10, 2013
  17. ^ www.waterlooeast.co.uk
  18. ^ dallassummermusicals (2014-11-15). "Full Casting Announced for A Christmas Story The Musical!". Dallas Summer Musicals. Retrieved 2018-12-24.
  19. ^ Berson, Misha. Review: Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre stages a twinkly, funny 'A Christmas Story'" The Seattle Times, December 16, 2010.
  20. ^ Isherwood, Charles. Charles Isherwood review of A Christmas Story, the Musical, New York Times, November 19, 2012
  21. ^ Gans, Andrew (13 May 2013). "Pippin Is Big Winner of 2012-13 Outer Critics Circle Awards". Playbill. Archived from the original on 22 December 2013. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
  22. ^ Hetrick, Adam (20 May 2013). "Billy Porter, Andrea Martin, Pippin, Matilda, Vanya and Sonia Win Drama Desk Awards". Playbill. Archived from the original on 5 June 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  23. ^ Purcell, Carey (9 June 2013). "Kinky Boots, Vanya and Sonia, Pippin and Virginia Woolf? Are Big Winners at 67th Annual Tony Awards". Playbill. Archived from the original on 11 June 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-10.

External linksEdit