Preparations are well under way to bring a beloved Christmas tradition to the region.
“A Christmas Story,” based on the widely celebrated movie by Jean Shepherd, begins on Barter Main Stage Nov. 23.
“’A Christmas Story” really has been one of the most anticipated shows in Barter Theatre’s history. Many people watch the movie every year, but they’ve never seen it like this: live and on stage,” said Lori Hester, director of patron services at Barter Theatre.
The most iconic moments in the movie are all there: the leg lamp, the bunny suit, the tongue on the flagpole.
There are a few differences in the stage version, however.
In the movie, viewers never see adult Ralph, while in the stage play, he is ever-present as he narrates the story. He is looking back in his memory about what it felt like being a kid and wanting that extra special 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 set is reminiscent of a huge erector set.
“I wanted it to be a playground,” said Derek 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.”
Director Katy Brown agreed.
“In theater, you can go very far with representing what some felt like. Shepherd puts the lens of childhood back over our eyes so we can experience what things really felt like when we were little,” Brown said. “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” debuts Nov. 23. Discount ticket packages are available and include lodging, dining to dessert and coffee. For reservations and more information, call (276) 628-3991 or visit BarterTheatre.com.