Relive the nostalgia of ‘A Christmas Story’
Published 9:01 pm Tuesday, November 30, 2021
ACT brings classic holiday movie to the stage
Albert Lea Community Theatre is bringing a classic holiday movie to the stage this weekend with “A Christmas Story, The Musical.”
Directed by father-and-son team Glen and Nick Parsons, the musical features 29 actors — 14 adults and 15 children — some of whom are on the stage for the first time, Glen Parsons said.
The musical is set in the 1940s in the fictional town of Homan, Indiana. It follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker and his quest for the Holy Grail of Christmas gifts — an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle.
“This is a show — everybody knows the story — but it was a new musical,” Glen Parsons said. “None of us knew the music, but it has some real show stoppers.”
He noted the music and lyrics are by the same writers who gained notoriety in recent years for songs in “La La Land” and “Dear Evan Hanson.”
The musical features Joshua Brooks as Ralphie and Tony Segura as radio disc jockey Jean Shepherd, the adult Ralphie who narrates the story. Betsy Smith plays Ralphie’s mother, Stuart Ness plays The Old Man, his father, and Samuel Gustafson plays his brother, Randy.
Music was directed by Barb Lang, and a seven-person orchestra accompanies throughout.
The directors said cast members have practiced for about 6 1/2 weeks, and with so many young actors in the show, they had to take it back to original stage etiquette and basics in the beginning.
“We’ve wanted it to be a really good experience for them,” Glen Parsons said. “The kids have grown so much.”
The Parsons are no strangers to the theater. Though this is their first time for the duo to direct a musical together, Glen Parsons estimated he has directed about 25 plays and musicals during his career, and his son has directed films.
Glen Parsons said he and his son have been a great team — his son has a great sense of humor and has thought of many things throughout the process that he had never thought of.
“Staging a show is being a problem-solver,” he said.
Nick Parsons said anyone who has enjoyed the classic movie in the past will enjoy the show.
“The nostalgia of watching the original movie — coming to relive those moments,” he said. “It’s basically the movie but with amazing music.”
The musical will be performed Thursday, Friday and Saturday and Dec. 8-12 at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center, 147 N. Broadway in downtown Albert Lea. Shows start at 7:30 p.m., with the Sunday, Dec. 12, matinee at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets may be purchased over the phone by calling 1-877-730-3144, online at actonbroadway.com or at the box office. Tickets also are available at the Albert Lea Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Jean Shepherd: Tony Segura
Ralphie: Joshua Brooks
Mother: Betsy Smith
The Old Man: Stuart Ness
Randy: Samuel Gustafson
Schwartz: Isaac Lowe
Flick: Connor Hanson
Scut Farkus: Hayden Lowe
Grover Dill: Nevaeh Fleek
Esther Jane: Audrey Gustafson
Mary Beth: Nora Smith
Miss Shields: Christie Ness
Santa: Jason Howland
Adults Ensemble: Jon Cochran, Elizabeth Harty, Lana Howe, Lucas Johnson, Risha Lilienthal, Natalie Sue Martinez, Thomas Kenneth Martinez
Kids Ensemble: Lia Cunningham, Mollie Johnson, Cora Klukow, Bailey Lowe, Eleanor Sue Martinez, Charlotte Poppel
Directors: Glen Parsons, Nick Parsons
Music director: Barb Lang
Technical director/set designer: Mark Bartleson
Lighting designer: Dietrich Poppen
Choreographer: Erin Lowe
Stage manager: Karen Hendrickson
Production manager: Jason Howland
Costumes: Rosalie Truax, Mary Ellen Johnson
Props, set dressing: Teresa Howland
Lights: John Szymanowski
Spotlights: Lorna Beaver, Sue Runden
Sound: Neil Lang
Technical assistant: Laura Kuisle
Makeup: Phil Hanson, Heidi Stoltenberg
Orchestra: Doug Bathke (drums), Parker Jenson (double bass), Steve Krob (clarinet/alto sax), Barb Lang (piano), Todd Peterson (drums), Steve Weisgram (trumpet), Brenda Wichmann (trombone)