By Fran Syverson
For decades families have welcomed “A Christmas Story” as their must-see nostalgic movie to greet the holidays. Now for the second year in a row they can enjoy it live at the Sierra Madre Playhouse. Back by popular demand is Ralphie, longing as he always does for a Red Ryder BB gun for his Christmas present. And back are the adults—parents, teacher, even Santa Claus—who all dismiss his wishes firmly with the same pronouncement: “You’ll shoot your eye out!”
But oh, what Ralphie would do if he had a Red Ryder BB gun. He’d rescue his friends from the wild beasts in Africa. He’d free them from the threats of the town bully. He’d protect them from the Wild West bandits. And later, he’d be a hero by writing a perfect theme to please Miss Shields, his formidable teacher, played by Danon Dastugue.
Three adults are reprising their roles from last year. Richard Van Slyke plays the “Old Man,” an erratic father who is beset by barking dogs and his smoke-belching furnace, but enamored of his giant prizewinning lamp shaped like a woman’s leg. Andrea Stradling is the calm, doting mother who smooths out everyone’s problems except Ralphie’s, to whom she insists “You’ll shoot your eye out!” And Jackson Kendall returns as the adult Ralphie who narrates the memories of his childhood, while moving seamlessly into and out of the scenes.
Bring the children or grandchildren to laugh at the antics of Ralphie’s family and little friends. And the hilarious memories of childhood and Christmases past will likely remind you of your own younger days.
Many of the child actors’ roles are double-cast. Young Ralphie can be played by either Andre Mora or Sawyer Valin. Bradley Bundlie and Kevin Ying alternate playing Ralphie’s younger brother Randy. The roster of other young actors includes Marshall Gluck, Myles Hutchinson, Jude Gomez, Lucas Lim, Kennedy Farr, Charlotte Li, Zoe Cox, Jade Riley, Jax Malcolm, and Griffin Sanford.
“A Christmas Story” will be offered throughout December on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 o’clock; and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m. Additional earlier show times will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 21 and 22.
Admission is $45 general; $40 seniors (65-plus); and $25 youth (to age 21). For reservations, visit the web site at sierramadreplayhouse.org or call (626) 355-4318. The Sierra Madre Playhouse is at 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre.