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REVIEW: A Christmas Story the Musical at Circa 21' Dinner Playhouse

Circa 21'

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and no more so than at Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse via its production of A Christmas Story, the Musical, directed and choreographed by Ashley Becher.

You probably already know this story since the 1982 film of the same name has aired for years on television, often continuously ALL day on Christmas Eve. But, just in case you need a reminder, this is Ralphie Parker’s retrospective of a Christmas past when all he wanted for Christmas was a Red Ryder Carbine Action BB gun and the machinations he goes through to get it. The musical contains all the touchstones from the film including everyone’s admonition that “you’ll shoot your eye out,” the tongue stuck to the flagpole, the leg lamp and the grumpy department store Santa. This quaint nostalgia renders it a true classic as it remains a holiday favorite today, and being set to music gives it even more of a holly, jolly vibe.

Hoover Elementary School 5th grader, Ben Pisel, who has already assembled an impressive theatre résumé at such a tender age, takes on the iconic role of Ralphie Parker. He has both the acting and singing chops to more than meet professional standards and he jingles your bells all the way to curtain call. Equally charming and affecting is 4th grader, Fulton Young, in the role of Randy Parker whose performance will have you caroling out in the snow.

In fact, the entire children’s ensemble is dazzling. They all have multiple experiences in multiple theatre venues and they deliver truly professional performances that will have you rockin’ around your Christmas tree.

In a Circa ’21 three-peat is the very talented Bobby Becher as “The Old Man” (Ralphie’s dad) and it has been a real delight to see him morph from beach bum in Escape to Margaritaville, to sleazy politico in The Outsider, to this current role.

Earning very loud pah-rum-pum-pum-pum drum roles are Bradley Robert Jensen for the adorable costumes enriching the musical numbers of “Ralphie to the Rescue” and “Major Award” and to Becky Meissen for the gingerbread-cute, and flexible set.

Silver bells are ringing in the holiday season at Circa ‘21 so if you bypass this opportunity to celebrate Santa coming to town, well, it will be a blue Christmas without YOU.

A Christmas Story, the Musical  continues at Circa ‘21 Dinner Playhouse, 1828 – 3rd Avenue in Rock Island through December 30th with matinee performances on Wednesdays and evening performances Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

I’m Chris Hicks…break a leg.