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Woodlawn presents heartwarming musical "A Christmas Story"
By Kelli Maples, QSanAntonio, December 18, 2013

What’s the difference between “A Christmas Story” the movie, and the theatre version? Why, singing, dancing, and an on stage narrator. There also is the thrill of seeing it live on stage.

"A Christmas Story" is the heartwarming tale of Ralphie Parker and his quest for a Red Rider carbine action, 200 range shot model air rifle. It’s also a nostalgic look back at life in 1940’s America. Along the way, Ralphie battles bullies, and various adults who seem certain that he shouldn’t have an air rifle because, well, “you’ll shoot your eye out.”

The movie version, is narrated throughout, but unlike Woodlawn’s production, you don’t get to see the narrator. Greg Hinojosa, Woodlawn’s Artistic Director (and the director for this stage version), takes on the role as Ralphie’s older self, often interacting with young Ralphie along the way.

It’s this interaction that helps with the context of various sequences. Ralphie’s older self is quite earnest, and while looking at the events with an adult’s eyes, is still able to convey the special meaning that Christmas has to many children.

The younger Ralphie is played by Clayton Anderson, who does a marvelous job. Ralphie is not an easy part to play, especially for an actor of that age. But Anderson does a great job with his singing and dancing. He conveys the fervor that Ralphie has for getting that doggone BB gun.

Rebecca Trinidad truly has a lovely singing voice, and plays Ralphie's mother in a way that might make you forget the original actress, especially after her solo, “What a Mother does.” One of my favorite songs was Marc Daratt’s, “The Genius on Cleveland Street,” also sung with Trinidad.

Some of the more humorous songs were “When You’re a Wimp (kids ensemble), and “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out,” with Ralphie’s teacher, Miss Shields, played by Beth Erwin, and of course, “Ralphie to the Rescue.”

Did I say there was dancing? When Ralphie’s father (and cast) were dancing around with multiple versions of the leg lamp, we laughed joyously out loud. There was ballet, Latin beats, burlesque, can-can, and some Ziegfield Follies style dancing in the production.

We thought that the dancing in “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out,” was inventive and hilarious. Ms. Fields in an evening gown?

All the singers and dancers were clearly well prepared and hit their cues, including the children, who have a large part to do with the success of this production.

Overall, this was a very heart-filled rendition of the movie so many have come to love. It stays true to the original and is a truly excellent stage production that is fun for all ages.

"A Christmas Story, The Musical" at the Woodlawn Theatre from November 29 through December 29. Tickets are on sale at www.woodlawntheatre.org or by calling the box office at 210-267-8388. Show times are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 - $23.