There’s a reason why the movie A Christmas Story is so popular, and not just with others of my generation who were the the main character Ralphie’s age when the movie premiered in 1983. (How popular is the film? TBS will run it for 24 hours straight on Christmas, its 19th year of the marathon showing). It’s because A Christmas Story truly captures the sweet nostalgia of being a child at Christmas, hoping that Santa brings that one special gift (“an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two hundred shot range model air rifle,” in Ralphie’s case, you know…the one that will shoot your eye out). It also portrays a real American family, warts and all, in a humorous, but loving way. And most of all, it’s a reminder during the holidays of how precious our time together is as a family making memories that will stand the test of time.
Happily, the straight-from-Broadway A Christmas Story: The Musical now playing at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ, manages to capture all the joy, humor (the leg lamp! the pink bunny pajamas! the tongue frozen to the pole!), and heartfelt moments of the classic, much loved, film with the added bonus of great music. My family saw the production Thanksgiving weekend, and it kicked off our holiday season in style with lots of good family fun.
Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ, may not be on the Great White Way, but the 1,200 seat theater has been showcasing Broadway-quality (and Broadway bound) productions since 1938. A Christmas Story: The Musical is no exception.
The cast is wonderful. Colton Maurer captures Ralphie perfectly and Hudson Loverro is perfect as Randy (his “I can’t put my arms down” bundled up scene is spot on). Ted Koch as Jean Shepherd, the narrator, is a stand out. He adds the perfect amount of poignant nostalgia to the story.
The musical numbers blend in perfectly. A highlight is the “Major Award” number, or the leg lamp dance, performed by Chris Hoch , aka Ralphie’s “Old Man.” The infamous leg lamp comes to life in a Broadway kickline of glowing fishnet-clad leg lamps and the audience (and my family) loved it.
Give your holidays their own “Major Award” and get tickets to A Christmas Story the Musical here now before they sell out and have you screaming OH FUDGE!!! for missing out on a wonderful, family holiday experience.
Paper Mill Playhouse
22 Brookside Drive
Millburn, NJ 07041
Parking available at the theater ($9)
Where to Eat
There are many choices both near (right in the same building) and a short drive away to make your family theater night even more special. Here are two choices:
- Carriage House Bistro & Bar: located right at Paper Mill Playhouse, Carriage House offers seasonal American cuisine and pre-theater price fixed menus for lunch, dinner and kids. Choose Carriage House for a very special night.
- Basilico: Very good Italian food with a nice kids’ menu offering much more than your standard chicken fingers.