Move over, "It's a Wonderful Life," and make way, "Miracle on 34th Street," for Barter Theatre's production of another Christmas classic -- the stage adaptation of Jean Shepherd's beloved film "A Christmas Story."
"'A Christmas Story' really has been one of the most anticipated shows in Barter Theatre's history," said Lori Hester, Barter's director of patron services. "Many people watch the movie every year, but they've never seen it like this -- live and on stage."
Now playing on Barter's main stage, the play closely mirrors the 1983 movie starring Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker. All Ralphie wants for Christmas is a genuine Red Ryder BB Gun, but his wish is always met with the same refrain: "You'll shoot your eye out!"
Audiences will find all their favorite scenes from the film -- including the school bully, Scut Farkas; the "pink nightmare" bunny pajamas; the tongue on the flagpole triple-dog-dare; Ralphie's highly anticipated Little Orphan Annie decoder pin; and the "Old Man's" iconic leg lamp -- all narrated by a grown-up Ralphie remembering what it felt like being a kid and wanting that extra-special Christmas gift: "a carbon action, 500 shot Red Ryder air rifle with a compass and this thing which tells time built right on the stock."
The show's set, designed by Derek Smith, is reminiscent of a huge erector set.
"I wanted it to be a playground," said Smith, Barter's resident set designer. "This is a Christmas memory palace. There are all the things needed, like the steps that Ralphie stands at the top of in his bunny suit, the slide the kids go down after seeing Santa, the kitchen table where the family eats, the classroom; all that is there, but since it is a memory, I didn't want to go literal with the design."
It's an approach shared by Katy Brown, the show's director.
"In theatre, you can go very far with representing what some felt like," she said. "Shepherd puts the lens of childhood back over our eyes so we can experience what things really felt like when we were little. Our point is to capture the feel and emotion as opposed to the journalistic approach."
Nicholas Piper stars as the adult Ralph, who narrates the story and also participates in Ralphie's day dreams. Justin Tyler Lewis portrays young Ralphie. Erin Parker is the little brother, Randy, while Michael Poisson and Wendy Piper play the parents. The cast of "A Christmas Story" also includes Ashley Campos, Abbey C. Ellliot, Hannah Ingram, Barrett Guyton, Micah Hein and Sam McCalla.
"A Christmas Story" runs through Dec. 30.
Tickets start at $33.
For reservations or more information, call Barter's box office at (276) 628-3991 or visit www.bartertheatre.com.
|Johnson City Christmas Parade|
|The Annual Christmas Parade In Downtown Johnson City, December 3rd 2010.|