Nashville Parent Review: A Christmas Story

Nashville Rep gets the audience in on the act during its stage adaptation of a classic family-favorite holiday movie.

By Chad Young

Nashville Rep continues its holiday tradition with its production A Christmas Story, this year with an all-new cast. Adapted for the stage by Philip Grecian, the holiday tale is based on the beloved movie of the same name by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark. The movie is based on the first chapter of Shepherd’s book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash.

It’s a story that has a dedicated following, and the plot is one that resonates easily in the hearts and minds of everyone regardless of age — that single, solitary, hope-above-all-hopes, gotta-have-it Christmas gift. In this tale, its 9-year-old Ralph Parker who’s pining for an official “Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and ‘this thing which tells time.'” Fans of the movie as well as the stage version also relate to Ralph’s mental trauma as he worries that he won’t get what he wants. Everyone from his mother to his schoolteacher and even Santa himself rebuffs his Christmas dream with the same BB-gun block: “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

As one of those die-hard fans of the movie, I’ll admit the theatrical version takes a little bit of getting used to in regard to seeing adults playing those iconic kid roles, including Ralph (Derek Whittaker), Randy (Curtis Reed), Schwartz (Brett Cantrell), Flick (Mikey Rosenbaum) and bully Scut Farkas (Antonio P. Nappo). It’s tricky to thrust adults into a child’s world, but for the most part, the Nashville Rep’s cast does a good job of camping it up at the appropriate moments (including schoolteacher Miss Shields andschool girl Hester Jane hilariously portrayed by guys in drag).