NASHVILLE, TN (TN Tribune) – Nashville Repertory Theatre’s timeless holiday tradition A CHRISTMAS STORY returns to TPAC’s Andrew Johnson Theatre following the success of its season opener Ragtime. Named “Best Family Holiday Tradition” by the Nashville Scene, Nashville’s primer theatre company welcomes back the witty charm and family warmth only the Parker Family can bring to the stage. The production will be performed at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Andrew Johnson Theater, 505 Deaderick Street, from Thursday, December 2nd through Sunday, December 19th, 2021. For ticket and showtime information, visit www.nashvillerep.org.
“Last year, I did my best to celebrate the holidays. But of course, so much of what makes this time of year special, the gathering of friends and family, was difficult if not impossible for all of us last year.” said Drew Ogle, Executive Director of Nashville Rep. “So, this year, it’s a return to celebrating with our loved ones. For Nashville Rep, which means the return of our special version of A CHRISTMAS STORY! This enduring tale has so much heart and so much sincerity, wrapped in a warm blanket of nostalgia. It’s perfect for this particular holiday season.”
Based on the 1983 film A CHRISTMAS STORY, written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark; and adapted by Philip Grecian, A Christmas Story follows a bespectacled boy named Ralphie and his active imagination to get his one true wish for Christmas– “an official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass and this thing that tells time built right into the stock.” Constant reprimands of “You’ll shoot your eye out,” a grouchy department store Santa, a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole, and a waging battle over a “major award” are just a few of the obstacles that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas dream.
“For many of us artists, this is our first professional production back after the pandemic closed our theatres in early 2020. For me, it feels fitting that Nashville Rep’s first show back in TPAC’s intimate Johnson theatre be one that is a communal event,” said director Lauren Shouse. “We are excited to create a magical experience that feels like the production you all know and love, but with some new invention for 2021.”
The cast is led by Samuel Whited III as Ralph, who is getting back into the bunny suit as he originated the role and played it for 6 years. Also, the Rep welcomes Brent Cantrell back as he played Schwartz for the last 3 years. The rest of the cast will be making their Christmas Story debut including: Tamiko Robinson Steele as Mother, Sam Ashdown as The Old Man, Meggan Utech as Randy, Andrew Johnson as Scut Farkas, and Mike Sallee, Jr. as Flick.
Joining Shouse to revive this beloved classic on the Rep stage are original designers including sets by Gary C. Hoff, costumes by Trish Clark, and lighting by Michael Barnett. New to the team this year include sound by Nivedhan Singh, hair and wigs by Melissa Durmon, props by Abigail Nichol, additional costumes by Lori-Gann Smith, and assistant directed by Erica Jo Lloyd.
A CHRISTMAS STORY was performed at Nashville Rep for ten consecutive years, from 2009 to 2018. This unique adaptation of the popular film was created by the Rep’s former artistic director René D. Copeland, and it remains the most attended show in the 37-year history of Nashville Rep, with 222 performances and over 32,000 tickets sold over the first ten years.
In addition to A CHRISTMAS STORY, the remaining 2021-22 season also includes School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play and Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins. The Nashville Rep has been named Best Professional Theatre by the Nashville Scene, Best Local Theatre by The Tennessean, Largest Arts Organization by Nashville Business Journal, and recognized by the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County for 35 years of service to the community. The Rep’s shows, actors, directors, and designers have been honored by Nfocus, Nashville Scene, The Tennessean, andthe First Night Awards. For Nashville Repertory 2021- 22 season tickets and showtime information, visit www.nashvillerep.org or www.tpac.org.