I was excited to attend Opening Night of Paper Mill Playhouse's exciting holiday show, ‘A Christmas Story- The Musical’, a musical comedy that the whole family can enjoy. I was a child in the 1980s when the movie this musical is based on was released in theaters and became the classic holiday movie it is today. That made Paper Mill's announcement that this would be their holiday show for the season extra special.
Paper Mill Playhouse is a not for profit organization that has been entertaining audiences with live theater performances since 1938. Endeared to my heart is their award-winning access services for disabled and autistic patrons. Paper Mill will present an autism-friendly performance of the show on December 29.
Paper Mill is located in Millburn, NJ and making the journey from New York, one of the many benefits of attending shows at this theatre is the ease of traveling to Millburn. We are located the same distance from NYC that we are from Millburn, NJ. I can't tell you enough about the convenience of driving into Millburn to attend world class theatre productions with A-list at Paper Mill as opposed to attending he same calibur of productions in the hectic, daunting traffic I encounter to attend a theatre production in NYC.
I cannot say enough about this show for the ease of your holiday giving as a "gift experience" you can give a loved one. A ticket to this show can be the easiest one-stop gift giving to check off your list. gift experience is exactly what this was for me and it made a memory I will hold dear.
I had such fun picking out my holiday attire to wear to the show. I chose to debut my tartan vest ensemble and I headed out for my evening at the Paper Mill. A smooth traffic pattern all the way to Millburn!
By the time I was outside the theatre, I was already giddy with excitement for the show. I had no idea, however, just how much the show would impact me and begin to shape my holiday season ahead.
Paper Mill's production of A Christmas Story- The Musical so perfectly captures the spirit of the movie, but the musical gives the audience a very special "up close" glimpse into the lives of the Parker Family during their Christmas season of long ago as young Ralphie quests for a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. To be precise: "an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle".
I was blown away by the magnificence of the set designs for what is a multitude of scene changes, including the Parker home, Gimbels Department Store's holiday hustle and bustle and several exceptional "dream" sequences where Ralphie envisions his life when he receives the BB gun for Christmas and circumstances surrounding his quest to own the esteemed Red Ryder.
The cast is phenomenal. The pairing of Colton Maurer and Hudson Loverro as brothers Ralphie and Randy will both warm and win your heart. Chris Hoch so perfectly encompasses the role of the father as "The Old Man"and Elena Shaddow gives an ideal performance as "Mother". Together, the four of them bring this beloved screen family to life with the advantage of seeing this family's often madcap adventures play out in person on the stage. Ted Koch gives a wonderful performance as the narrator Jean Shepherd and I love how the musical has his character onstage narrating the action as it is happening. It gives the show an extra-special perspective and I love how Koch and Maurer have such a chemistry with one another in their roles as adult and young Ralphie. I have to say that cast members Pete and Lily, the dogs portraying The Bumpus Hounds rival this talented cast in their ability to be scene stealers. Their spirited stage entrances and exits received deserved the mountainous applause given by the audience. I expect to see Colton Maurer win a Tony Award someday. There, I have officially made my prediction to you, my readers! He is one of the most talented young performers I have ever beheld on any stage and he is currently onstage at the Paper Mill.
Danette Holden as Ralphie's teacher Miss Shields gives a delightful performance in the classroom but brings a powerhouse performance in a dream sequence that finds her and the students performing a wonderful tap dance routine in a fun throwback theme.
The children knocked my socks off. The iconic roles, including bullies Scut Farkus and his sidekick Grover Dill, played by Ryan McInnes and Gavin Swartz are performed by young actors who bring these larger-than-life characters to life on the stage with such an ease and natural ability. Vincenzo Faruolo as hapless flag pole-dweller Schwartz endears the audience with his plight to free his tongue from said flagpole during a very fun scene.
Ted Koch as narrator Jean Shepherd, through every moment of the show, brings the audience birds-eye insight into what is happening on the stage. It was his insight shared in the show's final scene that moved me to tears and the tears flowed, and they flowed. My tears were a testament to the powerful performance Paper Mill's production of A Christmas Story- The Musical brings to audiences this holiday season.
This year marks Paper Mill Playhouse's first-ever short film, “Ralphie’s Christmas Wish”. This video is 5 minutes in length and it uplifted my spirit to see the surprise Christmas wishes granted, delivered to each of the recipients by the show's "Ralphie", young Colton Maurer, who warmed my heart with his caring spirit and this short film was such wonderful way to kick-off this season of giving in our home. Because of this short film, I was already a Colton Maurer fan before I even saw him take the stage as Ralphie.
A Christmas Story is a perfect way to kickoff this season at Paper Mill, which will include A Bronx Tale, Pump Boys and Dinettes, and West Side Story.
I get to share some Christmas joy for residents of NJ, NY, MA and CT because I am giving away 2 tickets to the show, which runs through January 3. To enter, leave a comment below and let me know if you have ever been to the Paper Mill for a show. If you are not able to leave a comment, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with "Giveaway Entry" as the subject line to count as your entry. Giveaway closes on Sunday, December 6 at noon EST.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Paper Mill Playhouse. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.