It's not often that a Broadway play can be referred to as something that is for fathers and sons. A night out doesn't necessarily mean bonding in a theater for most guys and their dads. However everyone once in a while a show does try to take that step, appealing not just to the female core that goes to Broadway, but to the men, and the younger sons, who could have an interest and just might come back for something else down the line.
The latest play to take that shot is actually a musical, "A Christmas Story," which opens on the 19th at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. The musical follows the story of the very popular movie of the same name that starred Peter Billingsley and Darren McGavin and is still seen every Christmas Day on TBS. Billingsley, who played "Ralphie" in the film is actually one of the show’s producers and is one of the people who sees this show as a chance to reach a wider audience for Broadway, especially the fathers and sons who love sports. "This is a relationship story at its core, one about Ralphie and his quest for the BB Gun, but really it’s about him and his dad," Billingsley said recently. "His dad is the one he never asks about the gun, and ultimately it is he who gets him the gun. That bond is what is common in sports and why we think this will appeal, just like the movie does, to a wider audience."
Also helping pull in the sports fans is Dan Lauria, who played "Lombardi" in the hit show and starred in "The Wonder Years" and now in "Sullivan and Son," on Turner. The veteran actor plays the Jean Shepard role in the play, one which he thinks will also resonate with guys. "There are many character traits that run through both Jean Shepard and Coach Lombardi, and I think Coach would have loved this story," Lauria added. "It is a family story about Christmas for sure, but every young guy I know watched the movie countless times, and bringing it to life on stage is something guys will love as well. It runs very true to the movie, and because of that it will do well."
In fact, there are plenty of sports enthusiasts who have already purchased their tickets to the show. Dean Forthun, a former professional baseball player, now Manager of Partnership Activation and Marketing at global sports agency, Lagardère Unlimited, is one of them. Forthun echoes Lauria’s perspective on how this show will be sure to reach a non-traditional audience. An enduring fan of the movie, Forthun wouldn’t describe himself as a Broadway regular, but was eager to secure his place in the audience when he heard it was opening. He knows that for many, “A Christmas Story” coming to Broadway will drum up nostalgia that will be the motivating factor for people to purchase tickets. “A Christmas Story reminds me of the days when I was a kid. My dad used to take my family and I from southern California to New York where we made countless memories together and felt the excitement that surrounds the holiday,” said Forthun. Coincidently, he also shares his lifelong connection to sports with his dad, as he was always a major influence during Forthun’s entire career as an athlete and sports business professional.
The show honors the movie, yet provides the audience with some comical surprises that will remind everyone of the importance of family during the holidays. The father-son bond and the tradition of a holiday classic converge on Broadway this season through “A Christmas Story.”
To see this classic brought to life on Broadway visit: achristmasstorythemusical.com