If you're a longtime viewer of the 1983 A Christmas Story film, or you were pulled into the holiday fandom Sunday night by A Christmas Story Live, you're in luck — here's how to see A Christmas Story: The Musical live onstage. Though the production has long sinced closed on Broadway, there is still a touring company making its way across the nation. According to the tour's site, it's still about to hit cities in South Carolina, Mississippi and Texas before the year is out. It's not an incredibly expensive venture either, with some of the South Carolina tickets starting as low as $57.
Much of the same music shown in FOX's A Christmas Story Live is also showcased in the stage production, as composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are behind the music of both. The stage production received rave reviews when it first debuted, nabbing three Tony Award nominations in 2013 and great critical acclaim. "I wouldn't exactly consider myself a soft touch when it comes to sentimental stories set during the Christmas season," one New York Times critic wrote. "But tap-dancing kids? Forget it. Out go the critical faculties, to be replaced by the kind of mindless adoration that the young hero of this musical brings to his obsessive worship of a toy BB gun." A critic for the Chicago Tribune agreed, writing, "I loved this exceptionally well-constructed show ... admiring both the score ... and the emotional honesty of the piece, even though it closely tracks the film."
It's only fitting that the show will reach people across the nation, because, according to the original Ralphie, it's a story that almost anyone can relate to. "Even though it’s set in the 1940s and from a part of the country people might not be from, there’s something very real about that portrayal of a family that was different than the more traditional vanilla kind of family that we were normally hit with," actor Peter Billingsley told Playbill in an interview. "The dad’s got a bad temper, the mom seems a bit kind of aloof at times. There’s something very, very real about that family and ultimately very loving about that family. We all have our own kind of dysfunctions. In many ways I think it was really this sort of commitment to the mundane that makes it special. It’s those simple relatable things of picking up a Christmas tree, wanting something for Christmas, going to visit Santa."
The FOX production certainly was chock full of nostalgia, and the theatrical music made for an added bit of magic to the already whimsical classic. Billingsley told Playbill in the same interview that he thinks the nature of the original movie itself made it perfect for a musical adaptation. "The idea of a musical was very, very inspiring to me because it’s really an extension of the story. I don’t think you want to remake the story. They did a pretty good job the first go-round," he told the outlet. "But Ralphie was very much a dreamer in the film. So many of those fantasy sequences lend themselves so well to the big Broadway song-and-dance pieces. And that’s really what it is. When the dad wins the leg lamp, it turns into a leg-lamp kickline."
Billingsley, who according to the Playbill article, also acted as a producer and consultant for the original Broadway production, also praised the musical talent they had composing the songs. "I think you always win in storytelling when you let the best creative ideas guide you. These guys submitted some songs to us that were the most inspired music we had heard from anybody," he said. "When you spend time with Benj and Justin, they make you feel so comfortable. They’re so smart, they’re so connected with the story and with the intentions, and they’re so talented."
And there you have it. A Christmas Story: The Musical has the stamp of approval from the original Ralphie, which should make any fan of the Christmas staple excited to see the classic tale play out with their own two eyes.