When you walk into Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre to see “A Christmas Story: The Musical,” there are certain scenes you expect to see from the movie, which was released in 1983: Randy eating like a pig, Ralphie in the pink bunny pajamas, Santa kicking Ralphie down the slide, Flick’s tongue stuck on the flagpole, Randy in the snowsuit and the leg lamp — delivered in a box marked “fragile” but pronounced “fra-gee-lay” by Ralphie’s dad better known as “The Old Man.”
Thankfully, “A Christmas Story: The Musical” delivered all those iconic scenes and more. The musical didn’t miss a beat. To the delight of the audience it mirrored the original movie so well, audience members knew what was coming next. And knowing the next line or scene didn’t ruin the fun. That’s what everyone was there for. Instead, the play brought the classic film to life while letting the talent of local performers shine, especially Ben Kistner, a seventh-grader at Zionsville West Middle School who played Ralphie. Kistner’s acting and falsetto didn’t disappoint. He embodied the role of Ralphie so well that audience members forgot he’s not the actor from the movie.
The entire musical centers around Ralphie and his desire to get only one thing for Christmas — an official Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot range model air rifle also known as a Red Ryder BB gun. Oh, all the things Ralphie could do if he just had the BB gun. But the adults aren’t trying to hear him. Every time he mentions the BB gun, they warn, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” There’s even a song — with an ensemble cast performance — dedicated to that stern warning. Other full-ensemble numbers include “Ralphie to the Rescue!” “A Major Award,” “Sticky Situation” and “Up Santa’s Lap.”
To Ralphie’s surprise, he does get the BB gun. When he takes it outside for the first time, he almost shoots his eye out!
Unlike the movie, the musical is set in the fictional town of Hohman, Indiana, instead of the real city of Terre Haute, but not much else was changed. The musical was first performed in 2009 and debuted on Broadway in 2012.