Monday, December 24, 2012

And So This Is Christmas (Stage Review: A Christmas Story, Lunt Fontanne Theater)

Apparently, the film "A Christmas Story" is beloved and iconic. I have never seen it. So of course, I also had no desire to see this production. But when the reviews started coming in after the show opened, it had almost unanimous raves and it piqued my interest. "A Christmas Story, The Musical" is quite terrific, and is a must-see if just for the one scene with Caroline O'Connor and Luke Spring. In the second-act opener, they star in a dream sequence set in a speakeasy, they have a tap-off and it's such a rip-roaring crowd pleaser that you won't be able to help but give in. Spring, is a little dynamite that I would give him a Featured Tony award if I had my way. And Caroline O Connor, how come I have never seen her before (or have I?) I know she is a West End legend, and I do have all her CDs, but she is the real deal. (She should have taken over Evita across the street) Seriously, that scene so won me over that I feel like they eclipsed the whole show (and they aren't even the stars!) Based on Jean Shepherd's autobiographical radio show, the story isn't much: little Ralphie wants a Bb toy rifle for Christmas, but things don't go his way before the big day. Along the way, we get to see his eccentric father and his obsession with a leg lamp, and there is a school bully storyline that's just a little creepy for me. I wish I could say that I was fully engrossed in that storyline, but let's just say that I am not its target audience. But, the tuneful score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul is good enough (I think repeated listenings would make me love it more) and there is a serviceable set by Walt Springer and inventive choreography by Warren Carlysle (he makes good use of the leg lamp) Though I probably would listen to the score, I don't know if I would want to see this show again - but it's just me being a scrooge. If this sounds like something you would see, then I can assure you that you would love this.

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