We Triple Dog Dare You to a Little Holiday Fun

by Ed Forteau /
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Nov 28, 2010 / 0 comments

Children’s Theatre Company Brings the Classic Midwest Tale, A Christmas Story, to Life on Stage This Holiday Season.

Since the 1983 film debut, Jean Shepherd’s holiday classic A Christmas Story has warmed hearts nationwide with visions of leg lamps and Midwestern children dressed in their overstuffed winter parkas, longing for the infamous Red Rider BB gun—much to their parents’ consternation.


A Christmas Story, CTC


Now, for the first time, Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) will bring the Parker family to life on stage in the Twin Cities’ first professional production of Shepherd’s tale, which opened Friday, November 19. 

Peter C. Brosius, artistic director for CTC and director of last year’s holiday favorite, Cinderella, is at the helm of this holiday classic, directing his second CTC show this season (Dr. Seuss’ The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins closed its exceptional run on Oct. 30.)

“A Christmas Story is about children and family. Shepherd knew how profound children’s wishes are and how complicated life can be,” says Brosius.  “He illustrated the humanity within this small Indiana town through a fresh, wonderfully comic perspective that audiences have grown to love.”

Ivey Award-winner Bradley Greenwald plays Ralph, our guide through 1938 Hohman, Indiana. Greenwald, a CTC favorite from productions such as A Year with Frog and Toad and The Snow Queen, begins his second show of the CTC season, having just closed  Dr. Seuss’ The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, in the role of King Derwin.


A Christmas Story, CTC


Greenwald’s narration acquaints the audience with Ralph’s younger, rambunctious self—Ralphie Parker—and his schoolyard peers.  Played by Taylor Scott Leighton, who makes his CTC debut, Ralphie longs for a Red Rider BB gun above all else this holiday season.  Add younger brother Randy, played by Alec Fisher (also a first time CTC actor), along with his friends and enemies Esther Jane (Kimberly Hatlestad), Flick (13-year old Charlie Lincoln), Schwartz (Austen Fisher, Alec’s older brother) and Scut Farkus (Chaos Bebault), and CTC introduces a brand new group of youth talent (seven total) to the UnitedHeath Group stage.

Rounding out the cast of ten are Autumn Ness and Gerald Drake who play Mother, Miss Shields and “The Old Man,” respectively. Both CTC Company members have delighted CTC audiences before.  Ness has graced the CTC stage in many recent favorites, including The Biggest Little House in the Forest, as the Evil Stepmother in last holiday’s Cinderella, Greg Banks’ acclaimed promenade version of Romeo & Juliet, as well as The Magic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and A Year with Frog and Toad.  Gerald Drake is playing his 40th season at CTC, and his prolific body of work includes Cinderella (also the Evil Stepmother!), Treasure Island, Oliver Twist and Romeo & Juliet

It’s a family affair as brothers Austen and Alec Fisher, both appearing in their first CTC show, take the stage as Schwartz and Ralphie’s kid brother, Randy.  The Fishers have been on stage together before, performing, among others, at Lyric Arts Main Street Stage in Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus, and Willy Wonka at Cross Community Players.

Scenic design for A Christmas Story is by Robert Mark Morgan, assistant professor of scenic design at University of Washington’s School of Drama, in Seattle.  Most recently, Morgan provided design for an Avatar exhibit opening at Experience Music Project (Seattle, Wash.) and was production designer for the Sea Lion and Otter Show at SeaWorld of San Diego.  Lighting design is by Paul Whitaker, and Sean Healey provides sound design.


A Christmas Story, CTC


Deborah L. Shippee leads costume design for A Christmas Story.  Shippee manages CTC’s costume shop and has designed costumes for A Christmas Story once before, for Studio Arena Theatre in Buffalo, N.Y.  Her previous credits include managing the costume shops at The Huntington Theatre in Boston, The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D. C., and the Indiana Rep. Theatre in Indianapolis. 

A Christmas Story opened Fri., Nov. 19, and runs through Fri., Dec. 31. Tickets range from $29–$44 for adults and $20–$32 for children (17 & under), students and seniors and are available by calling (612) 874-0400 or by visiting www.childrenstheatre.org.

Subscriptions for the 2010-2011 season, which also includes show-stopping hits such as Annie (directed by High School Musical director, Peter Rothstein), Robin Hood (currently playing through Dec. 5), Barrio Grrrl! and Babe (The Sheep Pig) are available now by calling (612) 874-0400.

Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) is the first theatre for young people to win the coveted Tony® Award for Outstanding Regional Theater (2003). Founded in 1965, CTC serves more than 300,000 people annually and is one of the 20 largest theater companies in the nation. CTC is noted for defining worldwide standards for youth theatre with an innovative mix of classic tales, celebrated international productions and challenging new work.

Thu, Dec. 2        7:00pm
Fri, Dec. 3          7:30pm
Sat, Dec. 4         11:00am & 2:00pm
Sun, Dec. 5        2:00pm & 5:00pm

Wed, Dec. 8      7:00pm
Fri, Dec. 10       7:30pm
Sat, Dec. 11       2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sun, Dec. 12     2:00pm & 5:00pm

Thu, Dec. 16     7:00pm
Fri, Dec. 17       7:30pm                (ASL/AD performance)
Sat, Dec. 18      11:00am & 2:00pm
Sun, Dec. 19     2:00pm & 5:00pm

Tue, Dec. 21       7:00pm
Wed, Dec. 22     2:00pm & 7:00pm
Thu, Dec. 23      2:00pm & 7:00pm
Sun, Dec. 26      2:00pm & 5:00pm

Mon, Dec. 27     2:00pm & 7:00pm
Tue, Dec. 28      2:00pm & 7:00pm
Wed, Dec. 29     2:00pm & 7:00pm
Thu, Dec. 30      2:00pm & 7:00pm
Fri, Dec. 31        2:00pm & 5:00pm

Photos courtesy and copyright Dan Norman. Actors shown as the Parker Family are: Gerald Drake “The Old Man,” Autumn Ness “Mother,” Taylor Scott Leighton “Ralphie” and Alec Fisher “Randy”