A Christmas Story

By Richard Schultz, December 2015 Issue.

Several generations have grown up watching the frenzy of festive events that Ralphie Parker endures, alongside friends and family, in the iconic 1983 festive film, A Christmas Story.

This beloved tale is being brought to life as a musical, which decks the halls of ASU Gammage Nov. 24-29. This nostalgic romp celebrates the innocence of childhood and delivers a high-energy, feel-good experience with a jolly score that will appeal to audiences of all ages.

A Christmas Story, The Musical chronicles young and bespectacled Ralphie as he schemes his way toward the holiday gift of his dreams: an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model air rifle. And, who could forget the film’s most memorable line: “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”

An infamous leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a maniacal department store Santa, and a double-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the distractions that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas wish.

Following its smash-hit Broadway run, for which it was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Musical in 2013, A Christmas Story, The Musical is chock-full of delightful songs and splashy production numbers.

Echo caught up with cast member Michael McClure (pictured), a Texan native who now calls New York City his home, to talk about life on the road and the opportunity to bring the Christmas classic to Valley audiences.

Echo:Have you seen the film? How does the musical version compare?

McClure: The stage version is very similar to the film. There’s the crazy teacher, the unforgettable leg lamp and those schoolyard bullies. The musical expands on those scenes with musical numbers that are fun and upbeat. Of course, there are extra surprises as well. It’s all told from Ralphie’s point of view, which is how we get to relive the magic of a child’s imagination.

Echo:Do you have a favorite scene?

McClure: Without a doubt, my favorite is the leg lamp number. It’s classic Broadway. It took a good amount of time to rehearse this number, but the result is impressive. Audiences also respond to this number with a big reaction!

Echo: Since you have been on the road with this show, what’s your impression on how audiences react to the show?

McClure: Audiences are definitely amused by how the family dynamic is portrayed including the relationship between the mom and dad. Audiences are moved by the show. Many have commented that the show evokes memories of special people in their lives. It’s truly a heartfelt experience.

Echo:Speaking of family, how is life on the road for you? Is it a challenge to stay close to those who are important to you?

McClure: When you are on tour, the cast and crew become like family, which is a positive perk of being on the road. My mom comes to see shows. I have learned about how to stay in touch. My boyfriend, Robbie Bibher, works as a producer for a live entertainment company. Robbie and I have been together for two years … and I’ve been on the road most of that time. So, the distance is tough. When I plan to see him or my family, I maximize the time together and it’s special and endearing.

Echo: So, how did you first become interested in theater?

McClure: I grew up in small town [Cleburne, Texas]. My mom was involved with the local community theater. When I would see my sister’s shows, I would know every line and song in the show. As I got older, I realized that this is what I wanted to do for my life.

Echo:Do you have a dream role?

McClure: I would love to be on Broadway and do an international tour. Ultimately, I would like to have a role written for me. Then I can put my own spin on it and it will become my marker. It will be a role that I created and that I am known for.

Keep readingShow less
WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

Keep readingShow less
by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less