San Antonio.- The movie, “A Christmas Story” is part of the holiday season right along with mistletoe, candy canes and tamales. It has become something that defines the feeling of Christmas and has become a tradition.
Many of us are used to seeing “A Christmas Story” 24 hours a day during the TBS marathons. Families gather around for gift opening and Christmas dinner and soon after end up huddled around the TV watching this timeless classic of the holiday season.
The original story for the film was based around an enthusiastic young boy growing up in the 40s who decides he wants a Red Ryder BB gun more than anything else in the world and sets out to convince his parents and anyone else who stands in the way that he does indeed need one. Despite being told numerous times that he will “shoot his eye out”.
The team at The Woodlawn Theatre has put together a great production of “A Christmas Story” and is one that the whole family can enjoy.
Woodlawn’s stage production sticks close with the original material only veering left or right enough to keep it entirely kid friendly.
The ongoing direction that sets this version apart from the film is that in the 1983 film young Ralphie is narrating the story from the point of view of a wiser adult with fond memories of that particular Christmas. However, Woodlawn’s production puts actor Benjamin Sharff, the older incarnation of Ralphie, on stage with the rest of the cast and visible only to the audience.
“I remember “A Christmas Story” playing on our TV and being part of the house on Christmas.” Recalled Sharff.
Cutter Grant, the young actor, who plays the lead as the younger incarnation of Ralphie looks exactly like Peter Billingsley, the original boy, cast in the film version of “A Christmas Story.” He manages to conjure up all the same emotions and nuances that were needed to be the lead.
Greg Hinojosa, artistic director at Woodlawn, does a good job of keeping the over all mood of “A Christmas Story” exactly where it belongs. It stays in touch with all the major themes of the original material while giving the audience a chance to witness it live.
“I really relate to the idea of family in the play. My family and I are a small one and I love the optimistic view the story emphasizes on family,” said Hinojosa.
We all have those dream gifts that we (much like Ralphie) want to wake up to on Christmas morning.
“For Christmas, I loved getting any toys or games that included using my imagination. Paints and watercolor sets, drawing supplies, crafty like gifts were my favorites. I guess I was a little geeky, but that is what inspired my love for the arts and eventually theatre,” stated Hinojosa.
The show will run Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through December 23. Tickets can be purchased at the Woodlawn Theatre or at Woodlawntheatre.com.
Eloy Hillburn III is a reporter for La Prensa de San Antonio. He may be reached at Eloy@laprensasa.com.