With the singing and acting talents of Tony Award nominees Tom Wopat and Liz Callaway and Broadway veteran John Bolton, A Christmas Story is a thoroughly enjoyable traditional, large cast musical. With most of the leading and featured roles written for male performers, A Christmas Story just may be the boy's answer to Annie.
A Christmas Story's Music and Lyrics are written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. With Orchestrations by Larry Blank and Vocal Arrangements by Justin Paul, the score is brass-heavy, punctuated by percussion and drums, rounded out with a woodwind section and a harp.
With the musical enumeration of time in "Counting Down to Christmas," visions of Rent sugarplums are inevitable. "When You're a Wimp" relates the trials or being a young boy who is ridiculed by the neighborhood bullies. "Ralphie to the Rescue" is a fantasy sequence in which Ralphie imagines himself a hero saving is family and friends from the dastardly deeds of imagined villains.
"Sticky Situation" is the moment in the film which has lived in infamy -- the triple-dog-dare for "Flick" to lick a frozen flagpole. "A Major Award" is a full-out, triple-threat musical number centered around Ralphie's father receiving a tacky stockinged-leg lamp in the mail.
"Up on Santa's Lap" gives a glimpse into a grouchy mall Santa's frustration of putting up with kids all day, then merges into Ralphie's big moment to tell Santa. However, beginning at the 0:37 mark, "Somewhere Hovering over Indiana" seems very reminiscent of a song from Wicked.
Tom Wopat is a sensitive narrator as "Jean Shepherd," and John Bolton's singing gifts are in musical comedy delivery as "The Old Man." Liz Callaway's amazing voice seems wasted on the role of "The Mother," but her tender approach to the songs "What a Mother Does" and "Just Like That" shows she can sing as emotively as she can belt. As "Ralphie," Clarke Hallum is an all-around vocal performer, encompassing both a beautiful, strong voice and spot-on comic delivery.
Overall, the cast album of A Christmas Story is full of songs that maintain the energy of a live show to keep a young audience listening. Safe for the whole family to hear, get this cast album for your kids. Like Elf and White Christmas before it, A Christmas Story will likely be a show that kids will look forward to seeing each year.
Cast Album PerformersTom Wopat as Jean Shepherd
John Bolton as The Old Man
Liz Callaway as Mother
Clarke Hallum as Ralphie
Carol Swarbrick as Miss Shields
Matthew Lewis as Randy
Dexter Johnson as Flick
River Aguirre as Schwartz
Ashton Herrild as Scut Farkus
Keenan Barr as Grover Dill
Drea Gordon as Esther Jane
Olivia Mora as Mary Beth
Jadd Davis, Candice Donehoo, Brandon O'Neill, Billie Wildrick as Radio Quartet
Ensemble: Adults ~ Krystle Armstrong, Jared Michael Brown, Sarah Rose Davis, Aaron C. Finley, Eric Polani Jensen, Frances Leah King, Orville Mendoza, Jenny Shotwell, Ty Willis, Matt Wolfe. Kids ~ Walker Caplan, Wilder Cufley, Larson Eernissee, Shaye Hodgins, Erich Schleck, Cameron Washington, Mira Wellington.
2. Counting Down to Christmas
3. At Higbee's
4. Red Ryder Carbine Action BB Gun
5. Counting Down to Christmas (Reprise)
6. The Genius on Cleveland Street
7. When You're a Wimp
8. Ralphie to the Rescue
9. What A Mother Does
10. Sticky Situation
11. A Major Award
12. Act One - Finale
13. A Kid At Christmas
14. Just Like That
15. Up On Santa's Lap
16. Before the Old Man Comes Home
17. Somewhere Hovering Over Indiana
18. A Christmas Story