As the holiday season approaches, Picketwire Players have been hard at work, preparing for this season’s production of “A Christmas Story.” Shouts of “ho-ho-ho” and “you’ll shoot your eye out” can be heard ringing through the theater. This production is being led by veteran Picketwire director Brenda Erwin, joined by her assistant Angel Leija. Erwin is known for directing shows that are filled with both humor and heart such as “Steel Magnolias” and “On Golden Pond.” Erwin’s selection of Jean Shepherd’s “A Christmas Story” continues this trend and fits beautifully into her resume of theatrical undertakings. When asked what inspired her to direct this play she shared, “I have always loved this story. This show is about family and the true meaning of the Christmas season. In the end, it is not about what presents we receive, but about the memories we make. When I think of Christmas, I think about “A Christmas Story,” so it seemed like a great play to direct,” shared Erwin.
“A Christmas Story” follows the adventures of 9-year-old Ralphie Parker in his quest to receive the ultimate Christmas gift… a Red Ryder BB gun. As the story unfolds, we see Ralphie attempt to convince his parents, teacher and Santa that he will not “shoot his eye out” with the BB gun. Ralphie’s struggle with school yard bullies, sibling rivalry and childhood day dreaming are, as Erwin states “incredibly relatable.” This familiarity has no doubt contributed to the popularity of “A Christmas Story.” However, the journey of “A Christmas Story” adaptation to the stage was a long one. It started when beloved American humorist and radio personality Jean Shepherd wrote a series of short stories detailing his childhood growing up in the Midwest in the 1940s. These were later compiled and released in 1966 as a book titled “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash.” In 1983 MGM adapted this book to film, titling it “A Christmas Story.” The movie was a moderate success. Then, in 1997 TNT began running the show on a 24-hour loop from Christmas Eve through Christmas Day. This was when “A Christmas Story” cemented itself as a Christmas cult classic. This year, the Picketwire theater invites theatergoers to view this cult show live.
So, what can theatergoers expect? “The play has all the iconic scenes from the movie, and more. Seeing this story performed live is special,” shared assistant director Angel Leija. This production boasts mixture of both veteran performers and fresh faces. Both Leija and Erwin also pointed out that this play is notable for showcasing the talent of Picketwire’s younger players. “The kids are great, they bring a lot of energy to the show,” shared Leija. “The kids are really at the heart of this show”, continued Erwin. “The story is told through Ralphie’s perspective, and I think that is what makes it so much fun. We can all relate to the excitement a child feels at Christmas. Growing up I was Ralphie! I remember thinking that I was smarter than the adults, I remember taping magazines to the refrigerator to drop hints on what presents I wanted,” mused Erwin. “People should come see this show because it’s a good wholesome story, your whole family can enjoy this play,” stated Leija. “It is funny, relatable and will get you ready for the holiday season,” shared Erwin.
Performance dates for “A Christmas Story” are set for December 12, 13, and 14 at 7:30 P.M. Tickets are $12.00 and can be purchased at picketwireplayers.org or by stopping by the box office at 802 San Juan. Box office hours are 5:30-7:00 P.M. Monday-Friday the week of performances. For questions, ticket reservations and information call the theater at 719-384-8320.