‘Christmas Story’ musical brings its hijinks to the Fox
The Broadway hit, “A Christmas Story, The Musical,” which brings to life the beloved classic holiday movie about a boy’s yearning for a certain gift, plays Dec. 20-24 for the first time at the Fox Theatre.
As in the 1983 holiday film favorite, the musical chronicles young Ralphie Parker’s scheming quest for an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle. It premiered on Broadway in 2012 and was nominated for multiple Tony Awards.
Set in the early 1940s, the funny and heart-warming family classic includes the infamous leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a deranged department store Santa and a double-dog dare to lick a freezing flagpole, all distractions that stand between Ralphie and his dream gift.
“Things go wrong, but in the end they love each other and have each other, and that’s what Christmas is all about,” said Susannah Jones who plays Mother, the matriarch of the Parker clan. “It’s simple and beautiful in that way.”
For her role, the Westchester, New York, native said she spends an hour before show time warming up her voice and body — and thinking about her own mother. “That pretty quickly gets me connected to the part, and what it means to me to care for those boys and give them a special experience like Mom gave me when I was growing up,” she said.
Attending the musical, she said, provides a good break for patrons from the stress that often accompanies holidays. “There’s so much pressure to make them great,” she said. “So it is really wonderful as we get closer and closer to Christmas to share a story that people love. It’s a great escape.”
Director Matt Lenz explained his connection to the story. “When I first saw it, it felt like my grandparents and Dad,” he said. “I thought, I know exactly what this is.”
Northern Illinois-born Lenz said he is excited the show in its third season of touring is coming to the Fox. “These theaters are like temples to me,” he said. “They are precious, sacred places.”
Canton native Kyle Patrick Scanlon, a member of the ensemble in the cast, said he is looking forward to his Fox Theatre debut and area family members are, too. “My uncle about became unglued when he heard I was playing there, and Mom is so excited,” he said. “It’s going to be amazing being in that venue.”
The recent Syracuse University graduate, who also attended Interlochen Arts Academy, said the musical is an adaptation of one of his favorite movies. “I grew up watching it,” he said. “That’s the best part.” This also will be his first Christmas home in five years.
Jones, meanwhile, said the performance never gets old. “It’s important to remind yourself there’s a new audience each day,” she explained. “That brings the excitement right back.”
Mary Chapman is a Metro Detroit-based freelance writer.
A Christmas Story, The Musical
7:30 p.m. Dec. 20-21; 2 and 7:30 p.m., Dec. 22-23, and 2 p.m. Dec. 24
Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward, Detroit
(800) 745-3000, (313) 471-6611