WANT TO GO?
"A Christmas Story"
Presented by Kanawha Players
WHERE: Kanawha Players Theater, 309 Beauregard St.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
TICKETS: adults $16, students and children under 18 $10
INFO: 304-343-7529 or www.kanwahaplayers.orgCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Shayn Davis had a big year in 2012. The 22-year-old communications and theater major at West Virginia State University appeared in several local productions including "Our Lady of 121st Street" and "Evil Dead: The Musical" for Kanawha Players and WVSU's production of "Hairspray."
Thursday night, Davis' current production, the Kanawha Players' "A Christmas Story," opens at the Kanawha Players Theater, but he won't be on stage for this one. This time he'll be in the wings, watching.
"It's the first production I've ever directed," he said.
Christmas plays come with a certain amount of baggage. Rehearsing around the holidays, working with young children and trying to compete with every other theater group (and several churches) also mounting their own productions are just a few of the headaches that come with the territory.
Some of these shows are annual productions. Comparisons to past shows are inevitable, but what happens when the play is based on a wildly popular movie?
"People love [the movie]," Davis said, including himself among its many fans. He also said that he took the holiday favorite very seriously and wanted his cast to see both what they were representing and were up against.
"As a group, we sat down and watched the movie," Davis said. "For solidarity."
Released in 1983, "A Christmas Story" was considered a sleeper hit that winter. Critical response was lukewarm. It turned a reasonable profit, but it wasn't considered an instant classic. That happened later.
Like several other holiday films, including the perennial favorite "It's A Wonderful Life," "A Christmas Story" took off through cable television. Through hundreds of showings on TBS and other channels in the last 20 years, the story of Ralphie Parker, his family and his quest for a Red Rider BB Gun has garnered millions of devoted fans.