(MANASQUAN, NJ) -- Algonquin Arts Theatre will present its holiday show, A Christmas Story: The Musical from December 3-18. From the songwriting team behind the smash hit Tony Award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen and the Academy Award-winning film La La Land, A Christmas Story: The Musical, brings the classic 1983 movie to hilarious life on stage.
Set in 1940’s Indiana, a young and bespectacled Ralphie Parker schemes his way toward the holiday gift of his dreams, an official Red Ryder® Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. An infamous leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a maniacal department store Santa, and a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the distractions that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas wish.
The cast for A Christmas Story: The Musical includes:
*Miles Schmidt (Ralphie) is thrilled to be making his Algonquin debut as Ralphie in A Christmas Story! His credits include Hans in Frozen Jr. and Bert in Mary Poppins Jr. He resides in Morristown NJ. Miles is represented by KLT Management.
Brendan Flanagan (Jean Shepherd) is so happy to be spending his eighth December in a row doing the Algonquin holiday show! Brendan was recently seen in the Algonquin productions of Cinderella, Tommy and Man of La Mancha.
Laurie Toole (Mother) is overjoyed to be on the AAT stage once again! Laurie traveled the world as a singer/actress for Princess Cruise Lines, after several years on the stages of Branson, Missouri. Laurie is thrilled to be playing the mother in A Christmas Story, as she just became a real life mommy in January of this year.
Anthony Greco (The Old Man) has appeared in, and directed, a number of Algonquin productions! Some of his favorite onstage roles include Mary Poppins (George Banks), Amadeus (Joseph II), The Producers (Max), Mamma Mia! (Harry), Beauty & the Beast (Cogsworth), Noises Off! (Roger), and Damn Yankees (Applegate). He is so happy to be returning to A Christmas Story after playing Jean Shepherd in AAT’s 2017 production.
*Andrew W. Jacobs (Randy) is 10 years old from Westfield, NJ. Andrew has been an active participant with the Count Basie Center Academy in Red Bank, NJ. In addition to classes, he has participated in several student productions including Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory (Charlie), Rainbow Fish: The Musical (Rainbow Fish) and Newsies (Crutchie).
JQ Hennessy (Miss Shields) is thrilled to be back for another Christmas season at the Algonquin. NY Theatre: Into the Woods (Witch), Pippin (Leading Player) TV/Film: Northern Borders, 30 Rock, SNL. Other Theatre: Elf (Jovie), Paper Mill Show Choir (soloist), Grease (Rizzo), ...Spelling Bee (Olive).
*Brennan Boyce (Schwartz) is thrilled to be making his debut with Algonquin. Past credits include Matilda (Bruce), Addams Family (Pugsley), Frozen (Olaf), Spongebob (Mr. Krabs), Annie (Bert Healey), Godspell (Jesus), and Beauty & the Beast (LeFou).
*Jax Terry (Flick) is thrilled to be cast in his second production at the Algonquin! His debut performance was as 10-year-old Tommy, in The Who’s Tommy, this summer. This summer he also played the role of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, Jr. at the Spring Lake. You may have also seen him in the BES production of Annie Jr. (Alfred) or the MHS production of Big Fish (Ensemble).
*Max DeVivo (Scut Farkus) is thrilled to be making his debut at the Algonquin. Max is a 7th grader at Oak Hill Academy where he is an active member of his school's Junior Thespian Troupe. Some of his favorite past roles include Bert Healy in Annie Jr (Oak Hill Academy) and Davy in Newsies Jr. (Count Basie Theater). Max is also the 2022 NJ Outdoor Archery State Champion in the U15 Barebow Men's Division.
*Joshua Ray Johnson (Grover Dill) had his debut role in 2019 as Chip in Beauty and the Beast, Jr at HW Mountz School. This sparked his passion for theatre. Since then he has participated in several classes at Algonquin and studied with William Whitefield of the Asbury Park Theatre Company.
Robert Weinstein (Santa Claus) happily returns to AAT following his Mary Poppins debut. He's directed county premieres of Honk!, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Moby Dick: The Musical. He's performed in Forever Plaid, Yeston's Phantom, and Titanic among others. Robert heads the cabaret group Oasis Players.
*Eliana June Gamble (Esther Jane) is excited to be back at Algonquin! Favorite credits include Annie (Annie, Surflight), Annie (Molly, Algonquin), School of Rock (Marcy, Phoenix), Home For The Holidays (Gabby, Surflight) and more. Eliana trains in dance, vocal, acting and voiceover with her team The Dance Centre, Angela, Michelle, Badiene, Raquel, Thommie and Jeorgi. Eliana is represented by Stewart Talent and Moxie Artists.
*Maggie Parker (Mary Beth) is excited to be in her first production at the Algonquin. She previously played Les in Newsies (Count Basie Performing Arts Academy) and Lucy in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (Count Basie). She also enjoys playing soccer and basketball.
*Jake Ward (Tap Dance Soloist/Classmate) is thrilled to be returning to the AAT stage! He was previously seen at the Algonquin in The Who’s Tommy (4-year-old Tommy). He has been a dancer at Dance for Joy for the past 6 years and has thoroughly enjoyed performing with their dance company for 5 years.
*Avery Terry (Nancy/Classmate) is thrilled to be making her Algonquin Arts Theater debut! While Avery has been a part of the AAT Performing Arts Academy, playing the roles of a fairy in Peter Pan and Charlie in Willy Wonka, among others, this is her first full production at AAT! She also recently played a Rose in the Spring Lake Theater’s production of Alice in Wonderland, Jr. this summer.
*Evan Eldrige (Goggles Kid/Classmate) is a fifth grader from Brielle Elementary School. He has been a part of Gulliver’s Travels, The Pied Piper, and Seussical and most recently played The King in Rumpelstiltskin. This is his first time being a part of an Algonquin production.
Danielle Manzoni (Mrs. Schwartz/Ensemble) is excited to be in her first production with the Algonquin and she is thrilled to be returning to the stage after a multi-year hiatus! Past credits include the ensembles of; Children of Eden, Gypsy, Me and My Girl, Beauty and the Beast, & West Side Story.
Edward Itte (Policeman/Ensemble) is thrilled to be joining the creative team as well as performing in his 12th show at the Algonquin Arts Theater. He was most recently seen as Bert in Mary Poppins and Buddy in Elf the Musical.
Sean Callahan (Doctor/Ensemble) is excited for another holiday season at the Algonquin. Past credits include Mamma Mia in 2019 and Elf in 2021.
Martin Cordero (Fireman/Ensemble) is excited to be part of A Christmas Story at the Algonquin. He recently was in Man of La Mancha as The Captain of The Inquisition. He just completed his first year doing Community Theatre.
Alyssa Kiselev (Nurse/Ensemble) is thrilled to be performing in her third production with the Algonquin. Some of her favorite credits include Chicago (Velma Kelly), Xanadu (Melpomene), Godspell (Judas), Puffs (Megan Jones), and Honk (The Cat).
*Maggie Anderson (Children’s Ensemble) is appearing in her first musical production. She is currently an 8th grade student at MES. Maggie enjoys running on the cross country and track teams. In her spare time she enjoys biking with her friends, singing karaoke, and baking with her mom.
*Ayla Ergunay (Children’s Ensemble) is thrilled to be making her musical theater debut at Algonquin Arts Theatre. Being a part of this show is her best Christmas present ever.
*Samuel Feldman (Children’s Ensemble) is thrilled to join this amazing cast in his first performance at the Algonquin. He was most recently seen as Bruce in Matilda Jr. at WIS and can be found on YouTube in collaboration with Algonquin’s Page & Stage program. Sam is currently in rehearsals for WIS’s production of Bye Bye Birdie.
*Sadie Ficarra (Children’s Ensemble) has been attending shows and classes at the Algonquin for years, and she is over the moon to make her real stage debut. Sadie is a 4th grader at Nellie Bennett who loves reading, video games and boogie boarding.
*Patrick Kenney (Children’s Ensemble) is a fifth grader, and this is his first performance. He is very excited to join the cast of A Christmas Story. Patrick has a great sense of humor and is on a competitive travel swim team. Patrick has been taking acting classes in musical theater and improv-acting for years. He is an aspiring actor and hopes to pursue a career on Broadway.
John Albrecht (Adult Ensemble) s thrilled to be back on the Algonquin stage. He was most recently seen in Cinderella. A Christmas Story marks John's 13th production with Algonquin. Some other Algonquin favorites include Beauty/Beast, Mamma Mia, Christmas Carol and A Christmas Story (2017).
Carolena Blasucci (Adult Ensemble) is thrilled to be making her Algonquin debut! She's currently a freshman at Middletown High School South! Previous credits include: Seussical Jr. (Jojo), Frozen Jr. (Elsa), Chicago (Ensemble), Fame Jr. (Mabel), and soon in, Matilda at Count Basie Theater as the Acrobat!
Parlin Gressitt (Adult Ensemble) is excited to make her Algonquin debut! Parlin studies theater and music at BCC and acting at Actors Playground. Theater credits: multiple productions at BCC, OG Youth Temple, and AAT.
Luke Hall (Adult Ensemble) is ecstatic to be preforming in A Christmas Story. This is his second production with the Algonquin. Luke was previously seen as part of the dance ensemble in Mary Poppins, as well as working behind the scenes in several theatrical productions as his school.
Connor Naspo (Adult Ensemble) is excited for his first show with Algonquin! Some past shows include School of Rock, Wizard of Oz, Young Frankenstein, and Once an Angel.
Adeline O’Mara (Adult Ensemble) is super excited to take part in her first show at Algonquin Theatre! Previous credits include: Newsies Jr. (Jack Kelly), The Little Mermaid (Attina), Puffs (Cedric/Voldy), Addams Family (Lurch) and many more.
*Indicates member of Algonquin Youth Ensemble (AYE)
The Christmas Story: The Musical creative team includes; Jessica O’Brien, Director and Choreographer; David Shirley, Musical Director; Cindy J. Dwyer, Assistant Musical Director; Edward Itte, Assistant Choreographer; Ariana Centamore, AYE Teaching Artist, Chip Heptig, Associate Stage Manager; Frank Falisi, Rehearsal Stage Manager; Rachel Krupnick, Production Stage Manager; Joanne Penrose, Costume Design; Roman Klima, Scenic and Lighting Design; Joe and Karen Ficarra, Prop Design; Jan Topoleski, Sound Design and Julie Nagy, Producer.
Tickets start at just $26 and may be purchased at www.algonquinarts.org, by calling 732-528-9211 or by visiting the Algonquin Arts Theatre box office Monday through Saturday, 10:00am-4:00pm located at 60 Abe Voorhees Drive, Manasquan, New Jersey.
The Algonquin Arts Theatre production of
A Christmas Story: The Musical
Book by Joseph Robinette
Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Based upon the motion picture A Christmas Story distributed by Warner Bros., written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark and upon In God We Trust by Jean Shepherd.
A Christmas Story: The Musical is produced by special arrangement with The Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Illinois.
A Christmas Story: The Musical is sponsored by Sunnyside Manor and Broadway Ray.
Show and series producers include: Janice Blanton, Deborah Dec, James & Arlene Donegan, JL Grandinetti, Vincent Gifford, Boris Jelic, Diane & Jerry Levitz and “Broadway” Ray Soehngen.
*Algonquin Youth Ensemble (AYE) is Algonquin's marquee arts education program within the theatre's Performing Arts Academy. Students are selected to participate through a highly-competitive audition process prior to the start of the semester. In addition to rehearsing for the main stage performance in which they are cast, AYE students are enrolled in a class that runs in conjunction with the rehearsal period, teaching theatre skills and concepts that are applied to the production.
ALGONQUIN ARTS THEATRE (AAT) is a 501c(3) non-profit center for performing arts, providing cultural enrichment and arts education for residents and visitors of Central New Jersey and the Jersey Shore through high quality performances and programs in theatre, music, dance and film.
Located in Manasquan, N.J., AAT is an integral part of the Shore region, offering broad access to arts experiences across multiple disciplines. Deeply committed to education, AAT serves students of all ages not only through art and music instruction, but also through the unique communal conversation that exists between audience member and performer. A journeyman house, AAT features the work of young and emerging artists, designers and directors working alongside seasoned professionals.
AAT provides a platform for local and regional performers to showcase their work and offers audiences the opportunity to engage very directly and personally in the arts, fostering greater participation and providing an engaging means for exploring personal and societal issues through the world of the stage.
Algonquin Arts Theatre's programs are made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts / Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Funding is also provided by Hackensack Meridian Health, the PNC Foundation, Manasquan Bank, Sunnyside Manor, the Dodge Foundation, the Provident Bank Foundation and the generosity of other businesses and our patrons.
PHOTO by Michael Franken