It’s hard to miss “A Christmas Story,” a 1983 movie which has been on a 24-hour marathon loop on TBS starting each Christmas Eve since 1997.
However, the musical, which made its Broadway debut in 2012, is not quite as well known.
“The movie is a holiday favorite, for sure. I haven’t seen the musical, but I’ve watched about every YouTube clip there is out there,” Ben Kistner said. “I especially like the Tony Awards performance.”
Kistner, a Zionsville West Middle School seventh-grader, plays the lead character of Ralphie in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Story,” Nov. 21 to Dec. 31. Ralphie is a 9-year-old who is trying to convince his parents to buy him a BB gun for Christmas,
“It was the role I was definitely most hoping for, but would’ve just been happy to be in the show,” he said. “I like that he’s just a normal kid that I can relate to.”
Kistner said one challenge is he often has to express his feelings without words.
“The narrator describes a lot of what I’m doing rather than me saying what I’m doing,” he said.
Kistner performed as Michael Banks in “Mary Poppins” at Civic Theatre in 2018
“Ralphie is just as big a part but has a lot more singing than speaking,” he said. “That’s a challenge I’m really looking forward to.”
Fender Brokamp, a second-grader at Westfield’s Monon Trail Elementary, plays Ralphie’s younger brother, Randy.
“It’s fun being Randy,” Brokamp said. “I love the scene where I put the big winter coat on. We do a pyramid and I sing with my arms out because I still have my coat on.”
Brokamp, 8, has appeared in Christian Youth Theater’s “Lion King Jr.” and Jr. Civic Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical Jr.” in 2019.
Westfield Intermediate School sixth-grader Jack Clark plays Flick.
“I like that I get to have my tongue stuck to a flagpole while I sing,” Clark said. “There is a lot of dancing and choreography, so there is more memorization involved. I’m in a lot of the dance numbers, which means I have to push myself harder.”
Clark, who made his Beef & Boards debut as Flounder in “The Little Mermaid” earlier this year. said he was familiar with the musical version because he auditioned for the national tour of “A Christmas Story” in New York last year.
For Zionsville West seventh-grader Austin Lizama, his role of a bully isn’t typecasting. Lizama will play Scut Farkus.
“My friends and family think I’m nice, so they were surprised when they found out I’m playing a bully,” Lizama said. “However, other actors have told me it’s really fun to play a mean character. Plus, this will be my first professional musical I’ve been in with Beef & Boards Dinner Theater, so having the ability to work with very talented children and adult actors is sure to be a fun ride.”
Lizama has never played an antagonistic role before. The same is true for Dylan Acquaviva, a fourth-grader at Union Elementary in Zionsville, who plays Farkus’ sidekick, Grover Dill.
“One of the fun things about acting is getting to play parts that are very different from my own personality,” Acquaviva said. “One challenge is getting into my role of being mean. It’s so different than my normal self that it’s hard not to laugh sometimes.”
Zionsville Middle School seventh-grader Claire Kauffman is returning for her third show at Beef & Boards, last performing in the title role of “Annie” in 2018.
Kauffman plays Esther Jane.
“I play a sassy girl on the playground,” Kauffman said. “It’s a fun role to play. There are a lot of fun dance numbers and songs that most all the kids perform in.”
For more, beefandboards.com.