By Crystal McGough, Editor
LEEDS – Fans of the Turner Entertainment classic holiday movie, “A Christmas Story” don’t have to wait until the 24-hour Christmas Eve marathon to get in the Christmas spirit. Leeds Art Council will be kicking off two weekends of performances of “A Christmas Story” beginning on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023.
Tickets went on sale to the public on Friday, Nov. 17, but director Curtis Frost says don’t wait to get tickets, as they may sell out.
“If you love ‘A Christmas Story’ and you want to see it before it’s running for 24 hours a day on Christmas Eve, this is a great way to do it,” Frost said. “Leeds has got a really good community theater; they do so many different things here. It’s such a good atmosphere and it’s the biggest big-screen you can get because you’re right in front of it.”
Frost, who has only been in the theater scene since 2018 – but has built up quite a resume in that time – said he jumped at the opportunity to direct “A Christmas Story,” especially having been in the play as an actor before.
“This has been one of my favorite Christmas movies since I was little,” he said. “It’s one of those shows that everybody – even if they haven’t seen the movie – everybody knows something from this. They’ve heard somebody talk about FRAGILE (frah-jee-lay), or they’ve seen the leg lamp or the BB gun, or ‘you’ll shoot your eye out.’ I was in this show in 2019 at ACTA. I played the Old Man, and I had a great time. When I went to that audition, for me it was Old Man or bust. So, when this opportunity came up, I said, ‘Absolutely I’ll do it.’”
One of the hardest parts of directing, Frost said, is getting the cast in place.
“You walk into it (hoping certain people audition),” he said. “You know people that you know are reliable. Jordan Young, who’s playing Ralphie for us, has been in a couple of shows that I have been in, and I assistant directed a show that he was in. I was really happy to see him here because I knew that he could learn lines really well and that he listened to direction. And he fits the part: he’s blonde-haired, blue-eyed, has glasses. It just kind of fits.
“But really, it’s just trying to find people that can give off that feeling of nostalgia and familiarity that a lot of these characters have with an audience, but without being a mimic; without copycatting everything. That was something key that I was looking for and I think we’ve got it.”
The play is narrated by adult Ralph Parker, played by Mike DiLaura. As the character of Ralph tells the audience about his childhood – specifically about this one Christmas from his childhood – he draws the audience into the story itself.
“The entire show is an interaction with the audience,” Frost said, adding that there will be occasions where cast members are out in the audience. “Ralph is telling them about his childhood and about this particular Christmas. But we have moments where things happen in the audience because we want them to feel like they’re part of it, too.”
Tickets for “A Christmas Story” can be purchased for $20 at leedsartscouncil.org. Performances will be Dec. 1, 2, 7 and 9 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 3 and 10 at 2:30 p.m.
Leeds Arts Council is located at 8140 Parkway Drive in Leeds.