Ladies and gentlemen, it’s all about Paramount’s A Christmas Story Orchestra! Headed home last night after yesterday’s rehearsal, I’m blown away, totally exhilarated at the sound coming out of that pit. I dropped in late in the day in hopes to hear them hitting their stride and boy, were they ever. I dropped in to listen for 30 minutes or so. I stayed for the remaining three hours of their work day. I just couldn’t leave. It hits me every time, like I’m hearing a orchestra for the first time. Thrilled for you, dear reader, for the sheer joy you will experience at this show. There is something about listening to a live orchestra, coded deep within us, in our DNA, that quickens the pulse and lightens the heart, lifts us, elevates us up and over whatever may be troubling us, and I swear it feels like it simply changes everything, brightens everything. Tom Vendafreddo conducts at the keyboard and consults with Adam Rosenthal, Paramount’s Sound Designer, and together they polish every gem in Benj Pasek’s and Justin Paul’s sparkling score for all it’s worth. Exploding with brassy big band nostalgia, shimmering melodies, knock ’em dead singing and dancing in the best Broadway tradition all mixing to make a fresh, new holiday entertainment crafted especially for you.
Sitting here in the back row of the theater at “wandelprobe,” I’m listening to this cast lift their voices to the Art Deco rafters! Young Michael Harp as “Ralphie” is raising the roof like an old pro as the old pro Mike Accardo, his Dad, is bringing the house down! Danni Smith’s gorgeous voice as Mom fills the theater with beauty and warmth, while Erika Mac’s jazzy turn as “Miss Shields” is all show-stopping sass. This Ensemble brings back the listening pleasures of the ’40’s in close, tight harmonies, excellent musicians and astounding singers, each of them. Combine all of them with this state of the art orchestra and production and well, it feels like Broadway, folks!
We rehearse into the late night tonight and all day tomorrow for first preview tomorrow night! Our first audience is in for a holiday treat, a memory they will hold and keep for many holidays to come.
Sending the (not quite) traditional wish to “break a leg lamp” to this dynamite cast and crew and orchestra for a smashing opening night this Sunday evening!
Love & thanks,