A Christmas Story: Johnny Rabe to play Ralphie

Following a nationwide search, the producers of the upcoming Broadway musical comedy adaptation of the 1983 movie A Christmas Story, The Musical, have announced that child actor Johnny Rabe has been choosen to star in the role of 'Ralphie.' Rabe will make his Broadway debut in the role.

Rabe has some history with the musical, having been discovered in Chicago last year when he auditioned for the 2011 national tour of A Christmas Story, The Musical. Too young for the role last year, producers kept a watchful eye on Rabe casting him as one of Ralphie's classmates. A year later, Rabe once again auditioned, and was selected for the role.

Rabe said, "I can't believe it. I had so much fun last year singing and dancing in the snow with the rest of the kids' ensemble, I never dreamed that I would ever get to wear the pink bunny suit ...on Broadway! Talk about an early Christmas present!"

At certain performances, Joe West, also making his Broadway debut, will play the role of 'Ralphie.' Based in Los Angeles, Joe caught the production's attention when producers extended their search to a national talent pool, inviting young actors to submit audition videos. Joe West is the son of two-time Daytime Emmy Award winner Maura West ("As The World Turns.")

Producer Gerald Goehring "After months of searching, we are thrilled to have found two exceptionally talented boys to play role of Ralphie. Broadway's newest 12-year-old triple threat, Johnny Rabe, graduated from the ranks of the kids' ensemble in last year's tour to become our terrific young leading man. And Joe West wowed us with his online video audition and now joins our fabulous company. We couldn't be more excited to be the first to share these two young stars with the Broadway community!"

A Christmas Story, The Musical opens at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on 19 Nov 2012, following previews from 5 Nov 2012, and closes on 30 Dec 2012.

As previously announced the cast will also feature Dan Lauria (Jean Shepherd), John Bolton (The Old Man), Erin Dilly (Mother), Zac Ballard (Randy), Caroline O'Connor (Miss Shields), Eddie Korbich (Santa Claus).

The show's ensemble features Tia Altinay, John Babbo, Charissa Bertels, Grace Capeless, Zoe Considine, Andrew Cristi, Mathew deGuzman, Thay Flloyd, George Franklin, Nick Gaswirth, Mark Ledbetter, Jose Luaces, Jack Mastrianni, Mara Newbery, Lindsay O'Neil, Sarah Min-Kyung Park, J.D. Rodriguez, Analise Scarpaci, Lara Seibert, Jeremy Shinder, Luke Spring, Beatrice Tulchin and Kirsten Wyatt.

In A Christmas Story, The Musical, Lauria will play radio and television icon, humorist and storyteller Jean Shepherd. Shepherd's stories were published in a series of books including "In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash," on which both the musical and the 1983 film are based. Shepherd also served as narrator and co-screenwriter for the film.

The show will be directed by John Rando (Urinetown) and choreographed by Warren Carlyle (Follies, An Evening With Hugh Jackman).

A Christmas Story: In 1940's Indiana, a bespectacled boy named Ralphie has a big imagination and one wish for Christmas—a Red Ryder BB Gun. A kooky leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a cranky department store Santa, and a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the obstacles that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas dream.

The creative team features scenic design by Walt Spangler, costume design by Elizabeth Hope Clancy, lighting design by Howell Binkley and sound design by Ken Travis.

The musical launched a national holiday season tour in 2011 with stops in Hershey, PA; Detroit, MI; Raleigh, NC; Tampa, FL; and Chicago, IL.

The show is being produced on Broadway by Peter Billingsley, who starred as the original 'Ralphie' in the 1983 movie, along with 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, Bradford W. Smith.

The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 1983 movie features a screenplay by Jean Shepherd, based on his novel "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash," with additional screenplay credits by Leigh Brown and Bob Clark. The movie was directed by Bob Clark and starred Peter Billingsley as 'Ralphie,' Melinda Dillon as 'Mother' and Darren McGavin as 'The Old Man.'

Johnny Rabe as Ralphie

Originally published on

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