Eleven-year-old Marcel Rickman hadn’t heard of the 1983 holiday classic “A Christmas Story” until two weeks before auditions for the musical.
Marcel stars in Edmonds Driftwood Players’ production of “A Christmas Story: The Musical,” staging Nov. 29 through Dec. 22 at Wade James Theatre.
Now all Marcel wants is an official Red Ryder, carbine-action, 200-shot, range model air rifle — because that’s what Ralphie, the character he plays, wants for Christmas.
“Everyone knows him for being kind of nervous, but also a happy kid,” said Marcel, who lives in Edmonds. “He always wears his glasses … so you have to keep those, or else it will be hard to recognize him as a character. But I also get to make it my own, which is really cool.”
“A Christmas Story: The Musical” was nominated for a Tony Award, after opening on Broadway in 2012. Set in a fictional Indiana town in the 1940s, the musical follows the same wintry exploits of 9-year-old Ralphie Parker as the movie.
Ralphie struggles to make it to Christmas Day, butting heads with his cranky dad (Ben Fitch) and dodging a bully, Scut Farkus, (Enrique Rudd-Navarro), while daydreaming of a Red Ryder air rifle from Santa.
Director Diane Johnston, who in September directed “Steel Magnolias” for the Red Curtain Arts Center in Marysville, said the musical is full of wit and humor.
“This is written with family in mind,” she said. “It has catchy lyrics and moves at a very fast speed … so there’s never a dull moment.”
Compared to the film, the musical has more flair for dramatics. Iconic scenes such as when Flick (Eleazar Malaki) gets his tongue stuck to the flagpole and when Ralphie is forced to wear a bunny suit are accompanied by full-ensemble numbers.
“It’s extremely exaggerated compared to the movie. Whenever something exciting happens, everyone will dance. When Ralphie gets a C+ on his paper, they have a whole tap number. Everything is really big and fun,” Marcel said, adding that his sister, Sylvia Rickman, a sophomore at Edmonds-Woodway High School, is in the ensemble.
A sixth-grader at Terrace Park Elementary School, this is Marcel’s debut with Edmonds Driftwood Players. He has previously performed with Kirkland’s Studio East and Seattle Musical Theater. He continues to study acting with Village Theatre’s KidStage in Everett.
Now that he’s watched “A Christmas Story,” Marcel said he’s not left out anymore.
“So many people watch this movie every Christmas or even more,” he said. “Everyone knows (Ralphie) so well, that you feel like you’ve got to be like him.”
Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.
If you go
Edmonds Driftwood Players present “A Christmas Story: The Musical” at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Nov. 29 through Dec. 22 at Wade James Theatre, 950 Main St., Edmonds. Additional performances on Dec. 7 and Dec. 21 are at 2 p.m. Tickets are $28, or $25 for juniors, seniors, military. Call 425-774-9600. More at www.edmondsdriftwoodplayers.org.