NAPPANEE — It’s Christmas! It’s December 1940 in northern Indiana.
The Parkers are thinking about the coming holiday and all Ralphie (Josh Hatfield) wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle BB gun. The audience at Amish Acre’s Round Barn Theatre in Nappanee is kept in stitches at the way the 9 1/2-year-old goes about trying to convince his parents the gun should be his Christmas Day.
The four members of the Parker family turn in outstanding performances as they go about their daily lives in northern Indiana as Christmas draws near. Randy (Maison Ramsey) is Ralphie’s younger brother. Josey Miller is his mother and she’ll have no part of a BB gun for her son. He’ll shoot his eye out. Rory Dunn is the Old Man, a typical husband and father, and all he can think about is winning a prize in a crossword contest.
Josh is from Osceola and commands the audience’s attention whenever he is on stage. His school assignment is funny as he decides his teacher will help him convince his parents he really needs that BB gun for Christmas.
Maison is a fifth-grader at Riddle Elementary and is super as he follows her older brother around. He won’t eat and his mother has unique ways of getting food down her youngest son. When Ralphie gets into trouble Randy hides in the kitchen cupboards. He’s cute and he know how to tickle the audience’s funnybone.
Miller, a native of Lancaster, Pa., is making her debut at Amish Acres and makes the perfect mother. Dunn is a Round Barn favorite and doesn’t let the audience down as he makes the Old Man come to life.
Nick Manthe is Jean Shepherd. He does a super job of serving as narrator, weaving in and out of Ralphie’s situation. Don Hart is Santa and a first-rate Santa he is.
The Old Man wins a major prize — a lamp on a leg — in the contest he has entered. He loves it. Mother hates it.
Such songs as “Red Rider Carbine Action BB Gun,” “The Genius on Cleveland Street,” “Ralphie to the Rescue!” “Sticky Situation, “Up on Santa’s Lap,” and “Somewhere Hovering Over Indiana,” all add to the magic of the holiday.
Hats off to Miss Shields (Kelly Maryanski), Nancy (Amelia Lowrey), Skut Farkus (Kayla Thompson), Schwartz (Lindsey Graber, Esther Jane (Brooklynn Redd), Flick (Drew Flickinger), Mary Beth (Cora Callander), Grover Dill (Lisa Wood) and members of the ensemble — Katherine Barnes, Kaitlyn Bell, Kristin Brintnall, Joey Harbert, Don Hart and Joelle Rassi. All add their own special magic to the musical.
Artistic Director Amber Burgess, Choreographer Sarah Philabaum and Musical Director Travis Smith, along with the rest of the staff deserve a round of praise for this production. It’s great!
Does Ralphie get his Christmas gift? What happens to the Old Man’s lamp? I’ll not tell. If you haven’t seen the movie you will need to see the musical to find out.
This Saturday, Dec. 3, the theatre is collaborating with the American Sign Language Interpretation Department of Goshen College and interpreters will translate the performance. For tickets call (800) 800-4942 or online at AmishAcres.com. The musical closes New Year’s Eve.