I am so excited about "A Christmas Story, The Musical," that I just had to share this feeling with Chattanoogan.com's readers. With so many sad events happening in the world and our lives now I did not know if the holiday spirit would come into my purple heart this year. Well, last night it arrived. I went to the opening night performance of "A Christmas Story, The Musical" at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre and it was a joyous, upbeat, oh-so-happy occasion.
The musical is based on the popular TV show about the boy who yearned to get a Red Ryder Carbine Action BB gun for Christmas. The musical made its Broadway premier last December and the Chattanooga Theatre Centre is one of the few theaters to get the rights to do this show outside of the national touring shows. And it was such fun and such well done fun.
The cast was remarkable in every way - singing, dancing and acting their ways into your hearts. They were all so good that we dislike singling anyone out but must shout out how wonderful the Parker family is - with young Ralphie (Cannon Hunt), his little brother Randy (Benjamin Brown), Father (Scott Shaw) and Mother (Jennifer Major) along with the narrator (Greg Rambin, Sr.) giving outstanding performances in every way. The show is directed by Scott Dunlap, who did a great job with comic nuances and kept the pace moving smoothly, almost choreographing the movements of the 29 strong cast members. Scott's comic genius is so evident in this popular show.
George Quick did the musical direction of the clever and upbeat musical numbers and Lindsay Fussell did a really outstanding job choreographing the dance numbers. The audience favorite, hands down, was the "Dancing Legs" number, but we thought the tap dance number was especially good, particularly since we get to see so few tap dance numbers here. The set design by the CTC''s new designer Sarah Miecielica is delightful and really workable with pieces moving quickly and almost noiselessly onto and and off the stage. Scott Dunlap's costumes were perfect. And the six-piece orchestra really raised this show to another level of enjoyment and perfection. The opening night audience gave the cast a long, well-deserved standing ovation. Without a doubt the audience loved this show and laughed at every mention of "You'll shoot your eye out!" There is a wonderful fantasy musical number "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!"
"A Christmas Story, The Musical" is one of the best original holiday offerings we have seen in quite awhile, and we would encourage all of you who are young and young at heart to see it at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre with performances through Dec. 22. For tickets and times call the CTC box office at 267-8534. It is the show that will banish the grinch and bring the holiday spirit into your hearts.