Bristol Riverside Theatre: Unwrap 'A Christmas Story' Magic!

Wednesday, December 6th, 2023

Pictured Above: Ralphie played by Nick Barrington Photo Credit: Mark Garvin. 



Bristol, PA – Bristol Riverside Theatre (BRT) brings the 80s holiday classic to the stage this season with A Christmas Story: The Play. Philip Grecian’s stage adaptation is based on the 1983 motion picture A Christmas Story, written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown, and Bob Clark. Tickets for A Christmas Story: The Play are available online and by phone at 215-785-0100.

BRT’s Producing Director, Amy Kaissar, directs the ‘Parker family’ and its young bespectacled protagonist, Ralphie, as they navigate Christmas 1940 in the fictional town of Hohman, Indiana. Ralphie’s coveted Christmas wish is challenged by a host of family, friends, and one troublesome bully through two hours of comedic suspense and all the trappings of a familiar family holiday. Kaissar’s telling of one of America’s favorite Christmas tales begins Tuesday, November 28, and runs through December 31, just in time for the holidays. The show is a perfect seasonal play for families and theatergoers of all ages.

“It’s been a pretty difficult couple of years so it’s not surprising that we’re in a multi-generational moment of nostalgia for the before times. Now 1940, 11 years into the depression and on the brink of the US entering WWII, wasn’t exactly a simpler time. But childhood was, when our biggest problem was how to convince our parents to buy us the toy we wanted.” Said BRT Producing Director Amy Kaissar. “With A Christmas Story I hope that we’re bringing the audience all of the comfort and joy that comes with sharing our memories of childhood, favorite movies, and favorite Christmas stories with each other.”

First published in 1970 as short stories depicting Jean Shepherd’s Indiana upbringing, A Christmas Story began as a collection of magazine articles that would become a cinematic feature and subsequent stage
play. Phillip Grecian’s live interpretation pays homage to storytime evenings he shared with his own children, reading Shepherd’s words, which he later adapted for theatre audiences to enjoy.

Pictured Above: Actors, Brenny Campbell, Nick Barrington, and Benjamin Lloyd. Photo Credit: Mark Garvin. 

In BRT’s presentation, a wiser and older Ralph (Richard Watson) narrates the perspective of his younger self leading up to the ultimate satisfaction of receiving his Christmas Day prize. As a nine-year-old Ralphie (Nick Barrington) schemes his way toward the holiday gift of his dreams, an official Red RyderCarbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle, his efforts meet with an endless stream of outrageous obstacles. The Old Man’s (Ben Lloyd) infamous prized leg lamp, Aunt Clara’s pink bunny pajamas, a maniacal department store Santa, and a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few hurdles to snagging his Christmas wish. When Ralphie attempts to curry favor and support from his elders to attain his coveted treasure, each reminds him of one repetitive warning, ‘You’ll shoot your eye out!’. Mother (Brenny Campbell) and Randy (Tristan Monaghan and Brady McAnany) complete Ralphie’s cozy family cast of characters in the timeless story of a child’s wonder and desire originally written as remembered by the story’s creator.

The production’s storyteller, Richard Watson, is well-known for his roles in Law & Order: Criminal Intent, P.S., I Love You, and as ‘Sumner Sloan’ in the national tour Cheers Live On Stage. He was last seen at BRT as Colonel Jessup in A Few Good Men. The austere Mrs. Shields, Ralphie’s teacher, is played by accomplished stage and screen artist and vocalist Demetria Joyce Bailey, known for her roles in HBO’s The Wire and the Netflix original series House of Cards. Producer Ken Kaissar, Associate Producers Ernest Schirmer and Cynthia Gilbert, Scenic Designer Yoshinori Tanokura, Costume Designer Linda Bee Stockton, Lighting Designer Xotchil Alyss Musser, and Sound Designer Damien Figueres complete the creative team, creating a magical experience for all this Christmas.

BRT’s productions offer special pre- and post-show engagements, included with the ticket price, for guests to create a special night out. The November 30 opening night performance is followed by a light reception where patrons can revel over the night’s show. BRT’s December 1 Friday Festival features pasta provided by Cesare’s Ristorante and drinks courtesy of Dad’s Hat and Pat Deon Beverages. ‘Wine Down’ midweek on December 6 with complimentary wine from Chaddsford Winery Lahaska and desserts, and enjoy ‘Thirsty Thursday’ on December 14 with beer and snacks courtesy of Dog & Bull Brew & Music House, Naked Brewing Co., and Philly Style Soft Pretzel.

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