“You’ll shoot your eye out” laughing through Marriott Theatre’s edition of “A Christmas Story”
Every holiday season, “A Christmas Story” gets at least one 24-hour marathon on TV, meaning most of the American public probably has the movie memorized.
But there’s now another opportunity to recite every line and possibly sing-a-long thanks to a musical edition, also set in small-town Indiana around the 1940s, which found another beloved format on Broadway and is now playing at the Marriott Theatre through January 1.
On opening night, it was a constant stream of comedy as familiar scenes were spiced up with a snowy soundtrack, following the simple but brilliant premise of little Ralphie Parker (Kavon Newman) wanting an “official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time” for Christmas.
Told through the narration of his adult-self, it flashes back to the relentless pursuit of the possible present with his parents, played by Lorenzo Rush, Jr. and Sara Reinecke, teacher Miss Shields (Jenna Coker-Jones) and Santa Claus (Jackson Evans) with just as many hiccups along the way.
In addition to having practically everyone tell him “you’ll shoot your eye out,” there’s a swearword slip-up that gets his mouth washed out with soap, a pal he peer-pressured whose tongue gets frozen to a flagpole and a fight with a bully.
Even so, nothing can squander his hopes, plus there’s a lot going on with his family to make them quickly forget about the mischief, from mundane household chores, to a crossword puzzle prize of a tacky leg lamp randomly arriving in the mail.
The imagery and overall premise has spoken for itself since originally coming to theaters in 1983, but what really sells this adaptation is the cast, especially so many children who could easily be Big Apple bound.
Another unique aspect is the “in-the-round” layout of the Marriott Theatre, which allows every seat to be quite close to the plot, right up until the unexpected ending that won’t necessarily require anyone having to duck figurative BB gun blasts, but will likely have their eyes at least watering from constant laughter.