A Christmas Story Live broadcasts tonight live on the FOX network, from 7 – 10 p.m. ET and time delayed for the west coast. It’s executive produced by Grease: Live veterans Marc Platt and Adam Siegel, according to Deadline, and the cast is filled with stars. For those familiar with the boy band PrettyMuch, these guys will participate in the show as the Hohman Indiana carolers. Broadway.com has also reported that Ken Jeong from The Hangover and David Alan Grier of In Living Color have also jumped on board. The boy band PrettyMuch is made up of members Austin Porter, Brandon Arreaga, Edwin Honoret, Nick Mara and Zion Kuwonu. They are recognized for their hit songs including “Would You Mind” and “Open Arms.” As for Jeong, in addition to The Hangover movies, he is known for his roles in movies and shows including The Duff, Knocked Up, Role Models and Community. Grier is actually a Broadway veteran, though many know him for his comedy over the years. Jeong plays the Tree Salesman and Restaurant Owner, while Grier is the mean Mall Santa.
This live musical production is based on the 2012 A Christmas Story: The Musical production, which is actually a musical version of the original A Christmas Story movie. And, according to Bustle, in addition to the songs featured in the original musical, there will be additional songs that have never appeared in any version of the story. For more information on the live production, its new additions and the actors participating in the show, read on below for the details on each cast member.
Matthew Broderick as Adult Ralphie/The Narrator
Tony winner and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off legend Matthew Broderick takes on the role of Ralphie as an adult, the narrator who tells the story. In a recent interview with the NY Daily News, Broderick talked about how he was a fan of the original film, saying, “I always thought it was really funny and I still do. It’s an excellent antidote to some of the serious, sentimental parts of Christmas.” Recently, Broderick opened up a bit about his nerves and status with his lines to the LA Times, saying, “I think I feel OK — I’m 70% ready. I think I’m pretty close with all my lines. There are only a few spots that I’m worried about, but I think it’s going to be OK. I just hope I’m able to enjoy myself and not just worry about what I’m going to say next.”
When describing his role as Adult Ralphie to Entertainment Weekly, Broderick stated, “I’m present, but I don’t talk to anybody. They don’t know I’m there, so I don’t actually get to act with anybody. I’m describing what they’re doing, so I am paying attention to them but nobody talks to me. And I watch everybody rehearse basically.” In the original movie, the role was a voice-over played by author Jean Shepherd.
Maya Rudolph as Mother Parker
Maya Rudolph is known for SNL and movies like Bridesmaids. She also has her own variety show. Now, she takes on the role of Ralphie and Richie’s sweet mother. Rudolph revealed to Entertainment Weekly that the original A Christmas Story movie was never a staple in her household. She confessed, “I fell into the movie on my own. It was never a household Christmas tradition or anything, but I felt like I discovered it enough on my own that it felt a bit darker and more my sense of humor. I love Melinda Dillon [as the mother] in the movie so much. I didn’t expect to ever play her part in the musical, but she really shines for me in that movie. She’s just wonderfully warm and a little bit her own odd, quirky mother that’s not a normal mother but is a normal mother.”
Chris Diamantopoulos as “The Old Man” Parker/Ralphie’s Dad
Chris Diamantopoulos is playing “The Old Man,” aka Ralphie’s father, who is a hard-ass. And, when The Old Man brings home a very tacky leg lamp, it becomes a focus in the storyline. When talking about his own childhood, actor Matthew Broderick reflected on the similarities he feels about his own father in relation to “The Old Man.” He told the Daily News, “My father wasn’t as distant as Ralphie’s. But getting his attention was never easy. At one point Ralphie says sometimes he wonders if his father notices he’s even there. I know that feeling, when he’s so busy with work and everything else that you’re not sure he’s aware of you.”
In an interview with the LA Times, Diamantopoulos talked about why the original film is such a great part of holiday entertainment, even today. He gushed, “It’s the perfect movie in some ways. Because even though it was made in 1983, it captured this little pocket of what our perception of 1940 [was] and that story that Jean Shepherd created — this idea of a kid whose one Christmas wish is a Red Ryder BB gun. It’s a great telling of a time gone by and a great reminder of the simple pleasures … we hope to take elements from that and the Broadway show and create something new.”
Andy Walken as Ralphie Parker
Ralphie Parker is a little boy who is focused on getting a Red Ryder Carbine Action Range Model Air Rifle. Over and over again, he is advised against it, warning him, “You’ll shoot your eye out.” Actress Maya Rudolph told the NY Daily News that, “Ralphie’s pure excitement for one toy on Christmas Day is everything childhood and Christmas is about.” The 11-year-old boy playing the role of Ralphie is Andy Walken and he hails from Seattle, Washington. In an interview with USA Today, Walken talked about his connection to the part of Ralphie, explaining, “I can relate to Ralphie because we can both drop hints to our parents about what we want and we both have very big imaginations.” Executive producer Marc Platt gushed that Walken is the hardest working kid he’s ever met and Elite Daily reports that this is Walken’s first big role.
Tyler Wladis as Randy Parker
Randy is Ralphie’s younger brother and sometimes Ralphie feels his parents favor Randy over him. Tyler Wladis is another newcomer in the cast and is taking on the role of Randy. According to Syracuse.com, when Wladis got the part of Randy, he exclaimed, “I was screaming. I almost started to cry but I didn’t. I was so, so happy. I love my part. Randy is a very funny person.” And, Wladis hasn’t been the only one having a blast on set. His mother Diane admitted that, “I’m a huge fan of Ferris Bueller so all of us moms have been fan-girling very hard on Broderick.”
Critic Bobby Franklin praised Wladis in a review after seeing him in local theater, writing on Boxing Over Broadway, “Seven year old Tyler Wladis as The Little Boy was just phenomenal. I have never seen such talent in someone so young. Tyler had a huge part with many lines, both opening and closing the play. His opening monologue set the tone for what was to unfold. His expressions and movements about the stage were just impeccable. This young man has an energy and timing that is truly amazing. He was simply a joy to watch and will surely be seen again.” This review was of the show “Ragtime” at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine.
Sammy Ramirez as Schwartz
Sammy Ramirez plays the role of Schwartz, who is Ralphie’s buddy. Recently, Maya Rudolph, who plays “Mother,” commented on the performances of all the kids in the show to Entertainment Weekly. She dished that, “When we had our run-through the other day, we got to see all the kids’ numbers. I was really blown away, and they’re really exciting. I felt a genuine ear to ear grin on my face watching them. They’re fun, it feels Christmasy and fun in the best possible way.”
Jane Krakowski as Miss Shields
Miss Shields is Ralphie’s teacher at school and the part is played by actress Jane Krakowski. Over the years, Krakowski has been known for her roles on Ally McBeal, 30 Rock and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, though Romper reports she does have a background in Broadway. The role of Miss Shields is an important one and the character gets to say one of the most well-known phrases from the film – “You’ll shoot your eye out.” Miss Shields is one of the many people trying to dissuade young Ralphie from wanting a BB gun. Actress Krakowski has said that there is actually an entire musical number and tap dance based around the iconic “shoot your eye out” line.
In an interview with the NY Times, Krakowski talked about her role in the production, saying, “Miss Shields has been developed in a wonderfully humorous way. One of my favorite parts from the movie was how involved she was with Ralphie’s fantasy life, and that is something that television can expand more than on the Broadway stage. They’ve made Miss Shields cater more to the actress that they’ve hired, which is always lovely.” Krakowski also revealed that she is a bit nervous for the live broadcast and even had a stumble during a rehearsal.
Ana Gasteyer as Mrs. Schwartz
According to Bustle, SNL‘s Ana Gasteyer is performing one of the brand news songs to be featured in the production. The song is titled “In the Market for a Miracle,” and its purpose is to honor the Jewish heritage of the Schwartz family. This wasn’t a part of the original movie. Currently, Gasteyer is a part of the show Lady Dynamite.
Recently, Gasteyer dished on A Christmas Story Live and what she is most looking forward to in the production. She spoke with Marie Claire and said, “In my humble opinion, the musical will be a seasonally appropriate throwback moment. Also the people who wrote the music did the music for Dear Evan Hanson and La La Land. They do that kind of nostalgia with a contemporary link really well. The thing I’m out of my mind with excitement about is that singing live is a first for me. They took the part of Schwartz’s mom—in the movie she’s an off-camera presence—and added a Hanukkah number for her.”
Sacha Carlson as Scut Farkus
The bully Scut Farkus is played by Sacha Carlson. In the movie, Farkus terrorizes Ralphie until one day when Ralphie finally snaps and beats up his bully. According to an interview with the San Luis Obispo Tribune, newcomer Carlson watches the original A Christmas Story every year. And, when dishing on some of the major actors in A Christmas Story Live, Carlson gushed that, “They’re my idols. They’re really genuine and they’re really kind. … They’re all amazing and really talented. To see them in their acting element is really special.” The New Times reveals that Carlson actually found out that he landed the role of Scut Farkus just two days before his 14th birthday.
Additional cast members in the production include Abigail Dylan Harrison as Louise, JJ Batteast as Flick (who gets his tongue stuck to a pole in a legendary scene), Artyon Celestine as Richie, and Elie Samouhi as Grover Dill. Be sure to tune in to FOX at 7 p.m. ET/PT. Again, the east coast version will be totally live, while the west coast will be on time delay.
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