A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL!
MUSIC & LYRCS BY BENJ PASEK AND JUSTIN PAUL BOOK BY JOSEPH ROBINETTE
DIRECTED AND CHOREOGRAPHED BY WARREN CARLYLE
FIVE-CITY NATIONAL TOUR WITH ENGAGEMENTS IN
HERSHEY, DETROIT, RALEIGH, TAMPA AND CHICAGO LAUNCHES NOVEMBER 2011
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STAR OF THE ORIGNAL 1983 FILM, IS A PRODUCER FOR THE NEW HOLIDAY MUSICAL
This holiday season, America’s #1 Christmas movie comes to life on stage as a hilarious holiday musical. A Christmas Story, The Musical! features a bright holiday score by composer/lyricist team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and a book by Joseph Robinette based on the writings of radio humorist Jean Shepherd and the 1983 holiday film favorite. Acclaimed director/choreographer Warren Carlyle (Broadway’s Finian’s Rainbow, Follies at The Kennedy Center, An Evening With Hugh Jackman) will helm the production. Peter Billingsley, who starred as Ralphie in the original 1983 film, serves as a producer for the holiday tour.
After acclaimed, sold-out, record-breaking runs at Kansas City Rep in 2009 and Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre in 2010, A Christmas Story, The Musical! will launch a five-city National Tour for the 2011 holiday season with engagements in Hershey, PA (Hershey Theatre, Nov. 8 – 13); Detroit, MI (Fisher Theatre, Nov. 15 – 27); Raleigh, NC (Memorial Auditorium, Nov. 29 – Dec. 4); Tampa, FL, (Straz Center, Dec. 6 – Dec. 11); and Chicago, IL (Chicago Theatre, Dec. 14 – 30).
A Christmas Story, The Musical! chronicles young and bespectacled Ralphie Parker as he schemes his way towards the holiday gift of his dreams, a Red Ryder Action Air Rifle BB Gun (“You’ll shoot your eye out kid!”). A kooky leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a maniacal department store Santa, and a double-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the distractions that stand between young Ralphie and his Christmas wish. Produced by the film’s original Ralphie, Peter Billingsley, It’s a perennial holiday classic that will entertain the whole family.
“I'm excited and honored to tour our show through five amazing cities, culminating at the famed Chicago Theatre this holiday season,” says producer Peter Billingsley. “Chicago is one of my favorite cities and a place where I have had great experiences in my film career. Chicago’s impressive stage history and wealth of local talent made it the easy choice to anchor this year's tour.”
“We welcome Warren Carlyle to our A Christmas Story… family,” says producer Gerald Goehring. “Warren is such an incredibly talented director and choreographer. My fellow producers and I are thrilled to have him at the helm of our tour."
A Christmas Story, The Musical! features scenic design by Walt Spangler (Desire Under the Elms); costume design by Elizabeth Hope Clancy (Passing Strange, The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?); lighting design by Tony Award winner Howell Binkley (Jersey Boys, Memphis); orchestrations by 2011 Tony nominee Larry Blank (Catch Me If You Can); musical supervision by Ian Eisendrath (5th Avenue Theatre’s Sunday In The Park With George, West Side Story); dance arrangements by August Eriksmoen (Memphis, The Addams Family) and casting by Stephanie Klapper (Dividing the Estate, The Tempermentals) Peter Billingsley joins commercial producers Gerald Goehring (Frankenstein: The Musical), Roy Miller (West Side Story revival, The Drowsy Chaperone), Michael Mitri (Frankenstein: The Musical), Pat Addiss (Promises, Promises; Spring Awakening), Louise Beard, Richard Winkler, Mariano Tolentino, Dan Frishwasser, Tim Laczynski, Bartner/Jenkins Entertainment, Angela Milonas, Bradford W. Smith.
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM
BENJ PASEK & JUSTIN PAUL (Music & Lyrics) are a musical theatre writing team living in New York City. Their first show, Edges, has been produced throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Europe and is licensed by Music Theatre International. Current projects include the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s James And The Giant Peach and Dogfight, a new musical commissioned by Lincoln Center Theater. They are the youngest winners of the Jonathan Larson Award and served as songwriters for Disney Channel’s four-time Emmy-nominated series “Johnny and The Sprites.” They contributed to If You Give A Pig A Pancake and Duck For President for Theatreworks USA and were listed as part of the “50 to Watch” up-and-coming writers by The Dramatist Magazine. They were interviewed on National Public Radio, selected as 2007-2008 Dramatist Guild Fellows, and their music has been broadcast on Sirius XM’s Live On Broadway channel. The duo has played sold-out concerts across America at venues including The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Joe’s Pub in New York City and the Falcon Theater in Los Angeles, and will soon perform in Australia’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival in June of 2010. They wrote Dr. Williams for Orchard Project’s 24-Hour Musicals benefit and will be featured in the upcoming documentary Overnight Musicals about the process by Incubation Films. They are proud graduates of The University of Michigan.
JOSEPH ROBINETTE (Book) is one of the most prolific American playwrights living today. Mr. Robinette has authored or co-authored 51 published plays and musicals. His works have been produced in all fifty states and in several foreign countries, including England, Australia, Canada, Holland, Germany, Spain, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. Twelve of his works have been translated into foreign languages, and another four have been anthologized with forwards by Carol Channing and Maurice Sendak. His plays have been produced by Lincoln Center, Theatreworks, Coterie Theatre, Pittsburgh Playhouse, Dallas Children’s Theatre, Barter Theatre, Laguna Playhouse, Connecticut Children’s Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre and the BBC, among others. Robinette collaborated with E.B.White on the authorized stage version of Charlotte’s Web, and he wrote the musical version with composer Charles Strouse (Annie and Bye, Bye, Birdie). Other authorized dramatizations include Stuart Little, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and The Paper Chase. Robinette is the recipient of numerous playwriting awards, including the Charlotte Chorpenning Cup, awarded to “an outstanding writer of children’s plays who has received national recognition” and the American Alliance for Theatre and Education’s best dramatization of the year for Sarah, Plain and Tall. In 2006, he received the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America medallion for his “body of dramatic works for children and young people in the United States and beyond.” Robinette is a professor emeritus from Rowan University (NJ) where he taught for 34 years. In 2002, he received the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award. He has led numerous workshops at elementary, middle and high schools and at state and national conventions, and was recently the keynote speaker at the Georgia State Theatre Conference. He has adjudicated a number of play festivals and has served as a judge for four national playwriting competitions. Robinette is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, and he is a founding member of Opera for Youth. He has guest-lectured at several universities and has taught playwriting at the Cape Cod Writers Conference, the Ohio State Writers Series and the Philadelphia Writers Workshop.
WARREN CARLYLE (Director,Choreographer) Broadway credits include the critically acclaimed Finian’s Rainbow and A Tale of Two Cities. Off Broadway credits: Encores! at City Center: Girl Crazy, On the Town, Juno, and Stairway to Paradise; Working (Zipper), Slut! (ATA). Regionally, he has directed and choreographed Becoming Chaplin (La Jolla Playhouse), Buddy’s Tavern (The O’Neill Theater Center), and Lucky Guy (Goodspeed). He has choreographed Mame (Kennedy Center), The Pirates of Penzance (Papermill, Goodspeed, Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Best Choreography), The Baker’s Wife (Goodspeed), and Pageant (Second City Chicago). In his Native England, his work has included has included Me and My Girl (UK Tour, Director as well, Best Production 2007 Theater Goers Choice Award), The Goodbye Girl (1st UK National Tour), Pageant (Vaudeville Theater), Sondheim’s Moving On (Bridewell Theater), and Scrooge (European Tour). 2010-2011 Season: Choreographed Randy Newman’s Harps & Angels at the Mark Taper Forum, Follies at the Kennedy Center, Camelot at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and is the creative producer for An Evening With Hugh Jackman which premiered at San Francisco’s Curran Theatre. He is represented on film and television by Deception starring Hugh Jackman (20th Century Fox), “Hope and Faith” (ABC), “An Evening at the Boston Pops” (PBS), and Elton John’s “Made in England” video. As Associate Choreographer he has contributed to The Producers (Broadway, Worldwide and film), Oklahoma! (Broadway) and Center Stage (film). As a resident director and choreographer, Mr. Carlyle’s productions have included Jolson (London, Toronto), Fosse (London), and Oklahoma! (London).
PETER BILLINGSLEY (Producer) has been a member of the Hollywood community since the age of three, appearing in television commercials in the 1970s before jettisoning to fame with the holiday classic A Christmas Story in 1983, where he portrayed the unforgettable Red Ryder BB gun-seeking Ralphie Parker. Since then Billingsley has taken his talent behind the camera, bringing his comedic genius and impeccable timing to both film and television. As a producer, he has earned an Emmy nomination for the critically acclaimed Independent Film Channel TV show “Dinner For Five,” and has also worked as Executive Producer on the hit films The Break Up and Four Christmases with his longtime friend and collaborator Vince Vaughn, as well as working as producer on the 2008 blockbuster Iron Man. As a director, his most recent film was Couples Retreat, starring Vaughn and Jon Favreau, along with Malin Ackerman and Kristin Bell. Currently he’s developing the big screen adaptation of Melissa Marr’s fantasy novel Wicked Lovely, which Billingsley will produce along with Valeri Vaughn.