‘A Christmas Story’ Comes to Muncie Civic Theatre

Scene from 'A Christmas Story.' Photo by Amanda KishelScene from 'A Christmas Story.' Photo by Amanda Kishel

By Michelle Kinsey—

MUNCIE – Muncie Civic Theatre invites you to gather family and friends and head downtown for the delightful holiday classic “A Christmas Story,” on the main stage through Dec. 23.

In fact, the theater – wait for it – triple dog dares ya to go.

Based on the hit holiday movie, “A Christmas Story” finds Ralphie in pursuit of his Christmas Dream of getting a Red Ryder BB gun.

Based on humorist Jean Shepherd’s memoir of growing up in Indiana in the 1940s (which became a must-see holiday film) follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker in his quest to get a genuine Red Ryder BB gun under the tree for Christmas.

Laura Williamson, Civic’s Executive Director and Director of this production, said she found the Indiana connection and Shepherd’s personal story “fascinating,” particularly his “sense of finding humor in everyday things and making them seem larger than life” which greatly influenced Jerry Seinfeld and Garrison Keillor.

Civic always offers a unique, larger-than-life approach to every production, and this holiday treat is no exception.

“Something that’s unique about ‘A Christmas Story,’ the play, that’s different than the film is that the voice of The Narrator – Ralph, or Ralphie as an adult – is represented by an actor in the play, as opposed to in the movie, where we just hear the voice.”

The Narrator will be played by John Lee.

“I like the fact that I am on stage to react to what is happening to the family as I recollect a very special Christmas to me,” he said.

Williamson said this holiday production (the theater does one each year) has been special as well.

“We do so many large musicals at Muncie Civic, a small play with 11 actors total is a nice change of pace,” she said. “It’s been wonderful to get to spend real quality time with the actors and really getting to dig into the text!”

Going to Civic in December has become a holiday tradition for many in this community, which means the pressure is on to deliver that holiday cheer year after year.

“Honestly, it’s a big responsibility, and one that we take very seriously,” Williamson said. “We strive to do our very best with the time and resources that we have.  More than anything, we’re grateful for the community’s support, and in that spirit, we continue to look for ways to raise the bar.”

Lee said this year was the perfect time for “A Christmas Story” because “of all the division and cynicism in the world.”

“It hearkens back to a simpler time when all was right with the world and helps inspire people to see the good in the world and to embrace the power of Christmas and the family,” he added.

Lee said he hopes audiences “can see some part of their own family Christmases” in the show and that “they get a warm sense of nostalgia from it.”

Williamson agreed.

“I hope they enjoy the traditional comic moments of the play that have become cultural icons,” she said. “Personally, I hope they appreciate the in-between ‘every day’ moments that connect those larger comic scenes. Bringing those moments to life is what we’ve most enjoyed as a company. That’s where – I believe – the audience has a chance to see their own families and experience a reflection of their own memories.”

Performances on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will begin at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday matinees will begin at 2:30 p.m. The Closed-Caption Performance will be Dec. 4 at 2:30 p.m. The ASL Interpreted Performance will be Dec. 18 at 2:30 p.m. This show is Rated G.

For tickets and more information, go to www.munciecivic.org or call (765) 288-PLAY.

The show is made possible with support from Accutech Systems Corporation, University Dermatology Center, DeFur Voran, 1816 Wealth Management Partners, Warner Supply, CANPACK US, Muncie, Dr. Kirts and Dr. Clark at Wilhoite Family Dental, Leland C. Wilhoite DDS, PC, 104.1 WLBC, REMAX of Muncie, Young’s Title & Abstract, and LifeStream Services.