Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas Tradition Comes to Atlanta's Fox Theatre

Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!

Last night, this blog had the delightful opportunity to start our Christmas celebrations a few days early.  We attended the opening night of Big League Productions', "A Christmas Story, The Musical."

This nostalgically charming musical stars Joshua Turchin (as Ralphie), Arick Brooks (as Randy), Chris Carsten (as Jean Shepherd/Narrator), Susannah Jones (as Mother), and Christopher Swan (as The Old Man).  Together, they make up one of America's most iconic Christmas film families -- the Parkers,  (You know, right there along with Clark Griswold and Cousin Eddie.)

When our invitation first arrived, our minds started racing.  Just how was Big League Productions going to turn our beloved Christmas tradition movie into a musical?  I mean...there are no songs in the original screenplay, right?

But as the curtain lifted and the musical began, we were courted with familiar story lines, characters, and sets.  Everything was falling into place.  There was the Parker's Normal Rockwell and comfortable-looking living room along with their iconic kitchen.  There was Ralphie's school room with his ever-so-eccentric teacher and menagerie of school friends.   And, of course, let's not forget the famous Department Store and Santa slide along with the only-thing-open-on-Christmas-Day restaurant - "the Chinese place."  It all seemed perfect and in place.

As the musical ebbed and flowed through the story line, the songs each matched their respective scenes perfectly.  From fun, happy songs like "Red Ryder Carbine Action BB Gun" (showcasing Ralphie's desire to get one from Santa for Christmas) and "A Major Award" (The Old Man's tribute to the iconic Leg Lamp) to the emotionally wrought "Just Like That," where Mother sings about trying to cling on to her children's childhood and her warm family home life.

I noticed, right about the time that Mother was singing, "Just Like That," that my heart was beginning to soften towards this family and I felt my eyes misting up a bit.  As a Mom, the lyrics and scene hit home a little too closely.  Which one of us Moms hasn't wanted to slow the clock down for just a bit and hang on to her children a little while longer?

That's when the play shifted for me.  It went from being a Christmas TV tradition that I kept playing in the background of my living room for 24 hours on Christmas Day to a true CHRISTMAS STORY.  A story, told by our Narrator Jean Shepherd, about a close-knit and quirky family and how they spent their December Christmas holiday month during a early 1940s.

This musical will tug at your heart strings.  It will make you laugh at all the things you've laughed at for years, but it will also leave you with feeling so much more than the movie ever gave you.  Reminding you what December is all about - fun, fast, frantic times; extreme weather conditions; and the love we have for each other within our own homes.

I am so glad I went to see this musical.  It really pulled off what I thought it might not be able to, and it did it brilliantly at that.  Do yourself a favor and buy tickets to see this holiday presentation.  It's a great addition to the season this year at The Fox Theatre.  Really makes you ready for the holidays, the decorations, the food, and the fun.

P.S.  I always like to tuck this little bit into my reviews -- this play is almost verbatim to the movie.  It is appropriate for all ages, and at our performance, there were several children in attendance.  There is no language or violence to worry about.  And keep your eyes open, you might even spot the Parker's neighbor's dogs in attendance!  Certainly a fun outing for the entire family.

A Christmas Story, The Musical runs through December 4th at Atlanta's Fox Theatre.  To purchase tickets, visit the Fox Theater website.

*This website was provided with tickets to Opening Night in exchange for fair and honest promotion and review of the musical.  Our review is strictly unbiased and our own account(s) and opinion(s).

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