Tuesday, December 8, 2009
A Christmas Story at the Cleveland Play House 3 December 2009
There are many good reasons to stop by the Cleveland Play House this month and see “A Christmas Story,” but two stand above the rest: the fact that the Playhouse will not be doing the play next season, and the Play House’s soon move downtown to their new home.
I’m not sure of the reason why it isn’t in their plans for next year, because the Play House’s production of “A Christmas Story” has been really good since they started performing it five years ago. Just like the movie we all know and love, you never get tired of seeing it. Laughs are anticipated, lines are said out loud (“Fra-gil-lee!), and everyone leaves with a good feelings and smiles on their faces.
With the influx of some new, younger actors, this year’s production seems a bit fresher than the last few years. The last group of young actors who covered the last few years were very good, but at the end seemed to outgrow their parts a bit. This year newcomer Joey Stefanko is a very good Ralphie, and Matthew Taylor steals every scene he is in as his younger brother Randy. All of the adult parts are returning actors from previous years and that is fine. For the most part the roles have become theirs, and Charles Kartali as the Old Man lives up to the high standard Darren McGaven set in the movie version of the story.
I’m not sure what is going to happen to the Play House’s Annual festival of Trees when they move downtown, because the lobbies of its Euclid Avenue theaters has been a perfect setting for the annual fundraiser. With over 65 decorated trees this year, this year’s event is as good as it has ever been. Highlight of this year’s event is a 25 foot Rotunda Tree in memory of long time Play House supporter Jack Wiegman, who passed away this past April. The Festival of the Trees display is free and open to the public every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Check the Playhouse website for hours.
A Christmas Story will be in production at the Bolton Theater at the Cleveland Play House for the last time until December 20. Even if you’ve seen it there in the past, check it out again, along with the Festival of Trees, for old time’s sake.