(July 27, 2012 – SEATTLE, WA) The 5th Avenue Theatre’s 2010 hit premiere A Christmas Story, The Musical! will make its Broadway debut at Christmas of 2012. This winter, holiday theatergoers on the Great White Way can see Ralphie and his desperate quest for a Red Ryder BB Gun, his epic battle with the school bully, and the “major award” his old man receives that scandalizes the neighborhood. The 5th Avenue Theatre’s Ian Eisendrath makes his Broadway debut as musical director and conductor. The new musical, based on the 1983 movie perennial, will play at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre for a November 5 – December 30 holiday engagement. Opening night is Monday, November 19, 2012.
“We could not be prouder of Ian and A Christmas Story and their shared journey to Broadway,” said The 5th Avenue Theatre Executive Producer and Artistic Director David Armstrong. “From the first moment that we heard Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s innovative book and delightful score, we knew the show would have a fantastic future. Seattle audiences loved the show in 2010. We know Broadway audiences will love it this Christmas.”
Ian Eisendrath began his tenure as resident music supervisor at The 5th Avenue Theatre in 2004. He has served as musical director and conductor for many mainstage productions over the past nine years, including Sunday in the Park with George, West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, On the Town, Miss Saigon, Company, Into the Woods, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and A Christmas Story. Additionally, he has assembled and supervised the orchestra and music staff for all mainstage productions at The 5th Avenue during his residency. Eisendrath was recently selected to lead The 5th Avenue Theatre’s new works program dubbed “The Musical Theatre Laboratory” as The Alhadeff Family Director of New Works.
A Christmas Story, The Musical! had its The 5th Avenue Theatre premiere November 26-December 30, 2010, where it played to great critical acclaim and delighted audiences. The Seattle Timescalled it “Twinkly, funny, bright and betinseled … an entertaining up-tempo romp,” with Seattle’s Child adding “Simply magical ... the show is as stylish as it is stellar.”
The Seattle Weekly named the show “A holiday hit… they’ve struck gold.” Broadwayworld.com affirmed “The show is a charmer.”
The hit musical went on a five-city tour during the 2011 holiday season beginning in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and ending in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Sun Times raved
“An enchanting holiday gem! Altogether beguiling! Luminous musical comedy!” Variety enthused “The creative forces involved in this unpretentiously slick, undeniably enjoyable musical version of 1983 MGM film and TBS marathon-TV fave A Christmas Story make so many smart choices that you want to ask them what they want for Christmas.”
A Christmas Story is the seventh 5th Avenue Theatre premiere to move on to Broadway. The 5th’s David Armstrong will make his Broadway debut this autumn at the helm of number six – Scandalous: The Life and Times of Aimee Semple McPherson (known as Saving Aimee in its 2011 5th Avenue premiere). Five additional 5th Avenue musicals have already become Broadway hits, includingHairspray, Memphis, Shrek: The Musical, Catch Me If You Can, and The Wedding Singer. These shows have accrued a combined 14 Tony Awards, with Hairspray and Memphis each earning Tony Awards for Best Musical. Many of these Broadway sensations have enjoyed national tours, and in 2007, Hairspray was released as a major motion picture starring John Travolta. In the last ten years, The 5th Avenue Theatre has produced 13 new musicals, and recently announced the development of The Musical Theater Laboratory, a new works program designed to support new musicals at all stages of development.
John Rando will direct the production, which features a book by Joseph Robinette and a score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, with choreography by Warren Carlyle, and associate choreography by James Gray. A Christmas Story, The Musical! features scenic design by Walt Spangler, costume design by Elizabeth Hope Clancy, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Ken Travis, wig design by Tom Watson, orchestrations by Larry Blank, music direction and supervision by Ian Eisendrath, dance music arrangements by Glen Kelly, and vocal arrangements by Justin Paul.
Peter Billingsley, star of the beloved 1983 holiday film, will again join commercial producers Gerald Goehring, Roy Miller, Michael F. Mitri, Pat Flicker Addiss, Mariano Tolentino, Louise H. Beard, Michael Filerman, Scott Hart, Timothy Laczynski, Bartner/Jenkins Entertainment, Angela Milonas, and Bradford W. Smith in bringing the musical to Broadway.
About The 5th Avenue Theatre
The 5th Avenue Theatre is one of the nation's premier incubators for new musical theater. Since 2002, the celebrated company has produced 14 new musicals. Five have moved on to Broadway premieres, earning a combined 14 Tony Awards, including two for Best Musical (Hairspray and Memphis). Two more 5th Avenue Theatre musical premieres (Saving Aimee – now called Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson and A Christmas Story, The Musical!) have announced Broadway openings for 2012. The 5th Avenue Theatre is also known for its world class, critically acclaimed productions of musicals chosen from both the contemporary canon and the Golden Age of Broadway.
Unique in its Chinese-inspired design, this exquisite theater opened in 1926 as a venue for vaudeville and film. In 1980, the non-profit 5th Avenue Theatre began producing and presenting top-quality live musical theater. Today, under the leadership of Executive Producer and Artistic Director David Armstrong, Managing Director Bernadine C. Griffin and Producing Director Bill Berry, The 5th Avenue Theatre attracts an annual attendance of more than 287,000 and ranks among the nation's largest and most respected musical theater companies.
In addition to its main stage productions, The 5th Avenue Theatre is also committed to encouraging the next generation of theatergoers through its extensive educational outreach program which includes: The Adventure Musical Theatre Touring Company, The 5th Avenue Awards Honoring High School Musical Theater, the Student Matinee Program, and Spotlight Nights.
For more information about The 5th Avenue Theatre, its season and its programs, please visit www.5thavenue.org.