The wait is almost over, as this season’s live musical television three-hour event will be coming to your screens in less than a month, more specifically on December 17th. This live musical event was inspired by the holiday classic film A Christmas Story and the Broadway musical A Christmas Story: The Musical. The film was released in 1983; and although it did not do so well at the box office at the time, earning less than twenty million USD, it later became a cult movie that has been playing every year for the last two decades in networks like TBS and TNT. Because of the film’s success, the Broadway musical was created in 2012 and it has been nominated for three Tony awards since then.
The musical is based on the short stories of Jean Parker Shepherd, an American storyteller, radio and TV personality, writer and actor who also went by the nickname Shep; and is set in the 1940s, when all 9-year-old Ralphie Parker wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun. It follows Ralphie and his family’s various holiday-themed adventures, including a not so fun trip to visit the department store Santa; Randy, his younger brother with awful eating habits; and Mr. Parker, his dad, who has a bizarre attraction for a lamp made to look like a woman’s leg.
Rehearsals are already underway with the whole cast. Starring two-time Tony Award winner Matthew Broderick (The Producers) who will be the narrator and will also portray the adult version of Ralphie Parker; and playing his mother Mrs. Parker, will be Emmy nominee Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids) who is mostly known for her hilarious characters and impersonations on Saturday Night Live. The rest of the cast of A Christmas Story: Live Musical also features Tony winner and multitalented Jane Krakowski (Nine), Emmy nominee Chris Diamantopoulos (Waitress), and Ana Gasteyer (Wicked).
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who worked together on last year’s sensation La La Land and also scored A Christmas Story: The Musical are in charge or writing the music and lyrics for some of the songs in this live television event, which is a sort of guarantee, as they are both Tony, Golden Globe and Academy Award winners. Scott Ellis who has been nominated eight times for a Tony award will be the stage director and also serve as an executive producer; and Alex Rudzinski, who won an Emmy award for the commercially succesful musical Grease:Live in 2016 will also be an executive producer as well as the live television director.
Fox is borrowing the “live musical” formula from NBC, which was the first network to venture in the realms of these types of live events with Sound of Music Live and Peter Pan Live. Surprisingly, and lucky for Fox, NBC is not doing a live event this holiday for the first time since 2013 because Jennifer Lopez, who is both the star and executive producer of the live version of Bye Bye Birdi (which was supposed to be this year’s live event), had a scheduling conflict and was forced to postpone it. Surely more broadcast networks will look into these type of live events if they keep attracting more viewers that have been persuaded by streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu and HBO Go.
If you’re already playing Christmas carols in your car and have a Christmas tree put up in your living room, you most definitely won’t want to miss this show, so don’t forget to tune in to the live broadcast December 17 at 7 PM ET.