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Pictured, from left, are Schwartz, played by Callan Hanifan, and Flick, played by Thomas Loudin. / (Photo courtesy Dannie Stiles)

‘A Christmas Story’ director hopes play will transport audiences back in time to happy holiday memories

BUCKHANNON – The red curtain will rise for the first time Saturday on Buckhannon Community Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Story” as the heart-warming holiday classic makes its debut for the first of two consecutive weekends of performances.

Tickets are still available on a limited basis for the BCT’s rendition of “A Christmas Story,” which was adapted for the stage by Philip Grecian and is based on the classic 1983 holiday film of the same name.

Performances of “A Christmas Story” are slated for Dec. 2, 3, 9 and 10 at 2 p.m. and Dec. 2, 8 and 9 at 7 p.m. at the Colonial Arts Center, located at 48 E. Main Street in Buckhannon.

The story follows the adventures of young Ralphie Parker, played by Julian Green, who takes audiences on a journey through the ups and downs of his childhood Christmases. The story is set in the 1940s and revolves around Ralphie, who dreams of getting a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.

Ralphie, played by Julian Green, during press night Wednesday, leading up to the debut of “A Christmas Story” on Saturday, Dec. 2. / (Photo courtesy Dannie Stiles)

However, Ralphie faces various challenges and obstacles in his quest to convince his parents, his teacher and even Santa Claus that a Red Ryder BB gun is the perfect Christmas gift. Longtime BCT member John Waltz brings the character of Adult Ralph to life, providing a nostalgic and heart-warming narration that ties the past and present together, according to a BCT press release.

Tickets for the Yuletide production cost $15, but the sooner you secure yours, the better. While tickets for all shows are sold out online, some tickets are still available on a limited basis at the following locations (subject to change):

  • Buckhannon City Hall
  • Salon 88
  • The Upshur Visitors Center/Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce

Director Dannie Stiles said he can’t wait to see the play come to fruition in front of audiences.

“This is the most excited I have been about any show I have directed, and yes, that includes ‘Clue,’” Stiles said Thursday. “I am so proud of all these youngsters and the work they have put in the show. I brag on them so much that you would think I am their parent, but they have all shown me so much professionalism and respect that they all have become my ‘theatre kids.’”

Stiles hopes the show will transport audiences back in time and evoke pleasant memories of their childhood Christmases.

“I think people will enjoy all the nostalgic moments the show brings and the memories of childhood,” he said. “Also, seeing so many kids perform showcasing their talents and seeing them collaborate is so enjoyable to watch.”

Ralph, played by John Waltz, at Wednesday’s dress rehearsal. (Photo courtesy Dannie Stiles)

Stiles said to be on the lookout for the iconic Leg Lamp printed by Scott Buchanan, which he knows attendees will relish. He also thanked Carol Meese and Kristina Smith for their hard work in the costuming department.

“[Smith and Meese] have worked tirelessly to bring us into the 1940s,” Stiles said. “As always, watching John Waltz weave a story together is something I will always enjoy — and seeing Katie Loudin’s soft and gentle portrayal of the mother at times is enough to make one see their own mother in the same way, and it’s pure magic.”

“The other big standout is Julian Green as Ralphie,” he added. “He is a natural on stage, and you can see that he enjoys his work, and it’s like he stepped right from the film onto the stage. I have really enjoyed learning how to work with kids as a director. I knew this would be a challenge for me, but the kids have taught me as much as I have taught them.”

Stiles gave a shoutout to the lights, sound and stage crew, too.

“The show would not be possible without the tireless help of David and Matoula Hartley, and Buckhannon Community Theatre appreciates all they have done to ensure the sound system is perfect for the show,” he said. “I am so excited to see this show open and play for two weekends. I think this is a holiday show that the public will love.”

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