What do a Calvin & Hobbes comic book, a Game Boy Advance, a marionette puppet, Lego Stars Wars AT-TE Walker and an ATV have in common? These are all things the young A Christmas Story cast members have wanted for Christmas as much as ???Ralphie??? wanted his Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle.
In the show, Ralph takes the audience back into his middle-class American life in the 1940???s and shares his favorite childhood Christmas memories. Gabriel Harder (age 12, of Elgin) who portrays young ???Ralphie??? on stage has a favorite Christmas memory of making a fake fireplace to hang stockings on. Nine year old Charlie Zimmer of Geneva (Schwartz) fondly remembers the Christmas when his family got a new puppy. 13 year old Garrett Weaver (Flick) comically recalls his Great Grandma’s dentures falling out of her mouth onto the floor and his dog running away with them, and 11 year old Rebecca Roy of Geneva (Ester Jane) happily remembers being taken on a surprise trip to Florida ??? her best Christmas ever!
The 11 children cast in A Christmas Story have a lot of hard work ahead of them as they rehearse an average of 6 days/week for the next 4 weeks followed by 6 weeks of back to back performances. After their first week of rehearsal, they have already decided that the scene where ???Flick??? gets his tongue stuck to the flag pole is one of their favorites. While Gabriel looks forward to the fight scene with real-life best friend Stirling Joyner (Scut Farkus), Sam Schumacher (alt. Randy) looks forward to ???spending quality time with his oatmeal.???
Most of the youth cast have theater experience and have shared the stage together in the NFT Youth Ensemble???s Oliver! this year, while others like Charlie and Max Lauser (alt. Scut & Schwartz) are making their stage debut.
“We are very excited about A Christmas Story,??? says Artistic Director and show Director John Gawlik. ???This is the first time Noble Fool Theatricals is working with children on a professional show. The cast is outstanding and the talent of these children never ceases to amaze me. It’s also gratifying to see so many children who have trained with our Performing Arts Academy reach the next level.???
???I cannot believe they are actually paying me, at 10, to perform with people I love at my favorite place on Earth (NFT Mainstage),??? says Maddy, who is one of the seven young actors enrolled in the NFT Academy. ???This is a dream come true.???
A Christmas Story cast features (in alphabetical order): Maddy Donatelli (age 10, Geneva), Michael Etzkorn (age 10, Lisle), Julie Ganey (Evanston), John Gray (Chicago), Gabriel Harder (age 12, Elgin), Mary Hollis Inboden (Chicago), Julia Joyner (age 9, Plano), Stirling Joyner (age 13, Plano), Max Lauser (age 10, Naperville), Tom McElroy (Chicago), Kelsey Pettrone (age 10, La Grange), Rebecca Roy (age 11, Geneva), Sam Schumacher (age 11, Itasca), Garrett Lee Weaver (age 13, Darien), and Charlie Zimmer (age 9, Geneva).
Posted by Missy Donatelli, NFT Parent of Cast member Maddy Donatelli