Mt. Pleasant High School to tell ‘A Christmas Story’ |
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The cast of the upcoming 'A Christmas Story' have been rehearsing for weeks to bring the production to its audiences. Cast members include Garrett Woodmancy (front), and on the couch (from left) Peggy Bitner, Brady Hunker, Layne Lueckert, Josh Kinneer, Alex Hubble and Madison Mason.

The story of a young boy’s desire to own a Red Ryder BB Gun and the lengths he will go to attain one for Christmas is the premise of the story “A Christmas Story,” one of the best loved holiday movies of all times.

The Mt. Pleasant High School Theater will be presenting the staged version of the classic movie as their fall production for the year.

“It’s a well-known story and I think that it’s one that a lot of people really enjoy,” co-director Rich Bair said of the production that will feature about 50 students from eighth through 12th grades in its cast and crew.

Bair said co-director Barbara Rolla approached him with the idea of doing the show when she said that it was her favorite Christmas story.

“We then agreed on it and chose to do it this year,” Bair said.

“A Christmas Story” was released in 1983 and tells the tale of 9-year-old Ralphie, whose only desire is to receive a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle for Christmas.

Set in the 1940s, the wonderful entertaining and nostalgic story takes its audiences back to the times of a less stressful world, one with which Bair thinks that many in the audience will identify.

“Times were different then,” Bair said. “I think that the older people who come to see the show will remember a lot about when they were growing up when they see this show.”

The staged show will also be narrated as is the style with the movie, and senior Garrett Woodmancy stepped into the role which is one that he described as massive.

“I am on stage a lot of the show,” Woodmancy said. “The part is really big, but I have done shows before and this just comes naturally to me.”

Woodmancy said that he also is enjoying the unique opportunity of being able to actually see the production unfold before him in a way that many actors never experience.

“It’s a lot of fun to be able to see the show as its being done,” Woodmancy said. “I actually get to see it and see it as its being performed, and that is something that I have never been able to do before.”

Brady Hunker, 12, will be portraying Ralphie and thanks his friends for talking him into auditioning for the role.

“I’ve never done a school show before,” Hunker said. “I thought that I’d give it a try and I love it. I love every part of it.”

Hunker said that he has watched the movie repeatedly and wants to bring a mixture of the character to the Mt. Pleasant stage.

“I want to resemble the Ralphie character from the movie, but I also want to bring my own character to the role,” Hunker said.

Bair said that they had a very impressive turnout for auditions for the show.

“This is the most interest that we ever had in a show,” Bair said, adding that district Superintendent Timothy Gabauer and assistant superintendent Anthony DeMaro will both be joining the cast.

“Barb Rolla and Rich Bair knew I participated in all of the elementary music shows during Christmas time last year and thought I might have an interest in making an appearance in this year’s play,” Gabauer said. “I found the offer to be a wonderful opportunity to connect with the students and continue to show support for a portion of the educational experience that typically is only seen from the auditorium seating. It is also a perfect means for our new assistant superintendent, Mr. Anthony DeMaro, to be visible with the student body as well as the community. We will alternate the role of Santa for the three shows.”

Gabauer said that he is enjoying the experience and appreciates all the hard work and time dedicated to the production.

“The investment of time with rehearsals, practicing lines, working on the sets, coordinating the music, sound and lighting and other aspects of the show for the crew is immense,” Gabauer said. “I continue to be amazed at the talent and creativity of the students as I observe them prepare and practice their individual roles. They make it look much easier than it actually is.

“The crew has been working so hard that both Anthony and I want to ensure their production goes very well despite our lack of talent or stage experience. They are a talented, dedicated and fun group to be around. I have always been a supporter of the arts and this experience has given me an even deeper appreciation for its overall value in the educational experience.”

The show in the Mt. Pleasant Area High School auditorium will be staged at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A 2 p.m. matinee is scheduled for Nov. 15.

Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students.

Senior citizens with Viking Passes will be admitted for free.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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