Check out A Christmas Story: The Musical director Nick Bowling’s director’s notes below. Read up, and get ready for the holiday show of the season, right here at Paramount.
Most of us know A Christmas Story from the 1983 sleeper film, which has since become a cult holiday classic. The real origins of the story actually go back to the 1950s, when a man named Jean Shepherd, an American humorist and radio personality, began sharing musings of his childhood on WOR Radio in New York City. He eventually put the collection of stories into a book called In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, and this was the inspiration for the film.
Although Shepherd claims A Christmas Story is fictional, he did grow up in a small Indiana town where there is a Cleveland Street, and several of the characters’ names are found in his grade school yearbooks, including Shepherd’s younger brother Randy. And while Shepherd named his young protagonist “Ralphie” not “Jean,” he himself did play the voice of ADULT RALPHIE in the film and appears onstage as the NARRATOR of our musical.
The stage version is transformed by the beautiful music of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who have turned Ralphie’s fantastical imaginations into songs. The artistic team and I have staged them from the perspective of a 9 year old boy, whose dreams are fashioned on the movies, radio and comic books of 1940.
I am so excited to be joining the Paramount family along with this amazing cast and crew to share A Christmas Story. This musical has reminded me of my own favorite Christmas memory… quietly sneaking into my sister’s room around 5 a.m. on Christmas morning, the two of us anxiously awaiting the agreed upon time to wake the rest of my family. I’d give anything to live those excruciating hours again. Looking back, I realize how they made the eventual descent of the stairs all the more magical.