We triple dog dare you not to smile when FOX’s musical production of A Christmas Story Live! brings the beloved Christmas film — complete with nostalgia, pink bunny pajamas and the Bumpus’ dogs — right into your living room.
The 1983 cinematic classic A Christmas Story tells the tale of an imaginative boy’s yearning for a very special gift, “an official Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot, range model air rifle.” The film inspired a Tony-nominated Broadway musical, which, in turn, forms the backbone of this live TV event.
“Everyone knows about the leg lamp and ‘You’ll shoot your eye out!’” says Maya Rudolph, who stars as Ralphie’s patient and loving mother. “But the music actually gives it a layer of emotion and depth that isn’t in the film. … The music is almost like hearing the inner story for a lot of the characters.” Rudolph says that the transformation of the story into a musical helps to bring its fantasy elements to life.
Rudolph also reveals that although her time on Saturday Night Live allowed her to sing and dance on live TV, A Christmas Story Live! is unlike anything she’d ever done. “It’s like learning a new language,” she shares. “It’s going to take me a minute to catch up with everybody, but it’s very gratifying.”
The “everybody” to whom Rudolph refers are her A-list costars, who are all pedigreed Broadway veterans: Chris Diamantopoulos plays Rudolph’s onstage spouse; Matthew Broderick acts as the story’s narrator; Jane Krakowski plays Ralphie’s teacher, Miss Shields; and Ana Gasteyer will appear as the mom of Ralphie’s pal Schwartz.
After a nationwide casting search, newcomers Andy Walken and Tyler Wladis snagged the starring roles of Ralphie and Randy Parker, and Rudolph gushes about the pint-sized talents. “They’re wonderful! They’re so lovely to work with, and fun, and genuinely eager to be doing this, but they’re just working so hard,” she says. “It’s so nice to be able to sing these songs to a child. It makes the whole thing feel like it has got that twinkle of Christmas in it already.”
Rudolph is excited to share the warmth and infectious nature of A Christmas Story with families in a whole new way. “I hope [viewers] are going to take away the feeling of Christmas that not only the movie gave us, but the musical can give us.” She adds, “I think it’s got such a good, sweet spirit to it, and this idea that all can be right in the world sometimes, the idea of family being so important, and childhood really being valued and important, and having this really special fun to look back on, and making memories.”
And executive producer Marc Platt, who also produced last year’s successful Grease Live!, promises the holiday party of the year. “You can’t ask for more,” he says. “Tap-dancing kids, live dogs, snow and Christmas — all in one night!”
A Christmas Story Live! > FOX > Dec. 17