Posted November 3, 2014 in Press Releases
You haven’t seen A Christmas Story until you’ve seen it live on stage at Cleveland Play House! This hilarious comedy based on the short stories of author Jean Shepherd has been delighting TV audiences for over 30 years. But instead of waiting for the 24-hour TV marathon to start, why not experience the magic of the holiday season live on stage with your loved ones at the Allen Theatre? Cleveland Play House’s exuberant production of this beloved holiday classic will have you in stitches as you follow the trials and tribulations of little Ralphie Parker in his quest for the “holy grail” of Christmas gifts. With so many memorable moments and iconic images, it’s no wonder that an illuminated leg lamp and pink bunny suit have become synonymous with the holiday season! Experience the magic for yourself November 28 – December 21 in the Allen Theatre at PlayhouseSquare.
A Christmas Story is the witty and heart-warming production written by Philip Grecian and based on the motion picture written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark. The story takes place in the 1940s and follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker down the streets of Indiana on his quest for the ultimate Christmas gift. Incorporating some of the most memorable elements from the movie, including the exploding furnace, the frozen lamp post and the infamous leg lamp, it is no wonder it has become one of the most popular shows in Cleveland Play House history. With an incredible cast of both local and national actors under the direction of John McCluggage, this holiday treat is sure to delight audiences of all ages.
A Christmas Story Cast
LEAH ALBERS (Understudy Esther Jane and Helen) is a seventh grader at Shaker Heights Middle School and is thrilled to be part of this year’s production of A Christmas Story. She has enjoyed acting in her school’s productions including Dear Chuck and Peter Pan, Jr. (Woodbury Elementary School). An avid reader, Harry Potter fanatic, student, and gymnast, Leah is looking forward to a future in theater.
CHRISTOPHER GERSON (The Old Man) is pleased to be making his debut with Cleveland Play House. New York credits include Red Bull Theater, Lark Theatre Company, and New Georges.Regional credits include Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, South Coast Repertory Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Pioneer Theatre, Actor’s Gang, A Noise Within, Folio Theatre, and Odyssey Theatre. Christopher is also a founding member of The Great River Shakespeare Festival. Television and film credits include Desperate Housewives, Days of our Lives, Chicago Hope, The Language of Kickball, Fort Greene, Echo’s Hammer and the recently released Darwin: The Series.
GIOVANNA A. LAYNE (Esther Jane) is excited to be making her debut performance with Cleveland Play House in A Christmas Story. Giovanna is a sixth grader at Sheffield Middle School. Her past credits include Les Misérables, H.E.L.P. and A Christmas Story: The Musical, Near West Theatre; The Music Man and Annie, Lorain Community Musical Theatre; Bye Bye Birdie, Jr. and Annie, Beck Center for the Arts; and Annie Get Your Gun, Tarzan, Charlotte’s Web and Seussical the Musical, TrueNorth Cultural Arts. Her dream is to live in New York City and pursue a career in musical theatre. She also enjoys taking dance classes. She would like to thank her family, friends and most of all her parents and brother for all of their love, support and encouragement.
MADELEINE MABY (Mother) is a New York based actor excited to be making her Cleveland Play House debut in such a wonderful, funny play. Favorite New York credits include Weekend at an English Country Estate, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, and Mr. A's Amazing Maze Plays, The Ateh Theater Group (of which she is a founding member); And to the Republic and The Tragedy of King Arthur, Guerrilla Shakespeare Project; The Importance of Being Earnest, Counting Squares Theater; and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Atlantic Theater Company. Favorite regional credits include Boeing-Boeing and Witness for the Prosecution, The Barnstormers Theater in New Hampshire. Madeleine has a BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts where she studied at Atlantic Theater Company and in London at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Madeleine narrates audio books when she’s not creating theater.
CONNOR MARROTT (Understudy) is very grateful and excited to be part of A Christmas Story at Cleveland Play House. At a very early age, Connor modeled for Little Tykes and Step2 and then moved on to theatre. Credits include The Wizard of Oz and A Christmas Carol: The Musical (Best Feature Actor in a Musical), Geauga Theater Lyric Guild. Connor participated in Hathaway Brown Theatre Institute this past summer and was a member of The Singing Angels. When he is not working on his acting or dreaming of being on stage, he loves to spend time with his friends. Connor wants to thank his family and friends for all their support.
ETHAN MONTOYA (Flick) was bitten by the theatre bug when he was just five years old and has been pursuing the stage ever since. He most recently appeared in Oliver! at Porthouse Theatre Company at Kent State University. A Christmas Story marks Ethan's twentieth show in four years. Favorite credits include Oliver!, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, A Christmas Carol, Shrek The Musical, and The Nerd. He has also starred in two television commercials. A fourth grader at Champion Central, Ethan is an avid soccer player. He also loves playing video games, building with Legos, having conversations with adults, and visiting New York City. Ethan is hopeful that his performance today will alert you to the dangers of cold weather flagpole licking.
COLIN MYERS (Schwartz) is in the sixth grade at Olmsted Falls Middle School. Colin began acting in 2012 in Charlotte's Web at Olmsted Performing Arts. Other Olmsted Performing Arts credits include Babes in Toyland and Bye Bye Birdie. Colin also appeared in the PlayhouseSquare production
of Dawg Pounded. Colin's most recent production was the title role in Oliver! at Brecksville Theater on the Square. Outside of theater, Colin enjoys playing football and video games with friends.
YUMI NDHLOVU (Helen) is a fifth grader at Hathaway Brown School. Born in New York City, Yumi has lived in the Turks and Caicos Islands and now Cleveland, OH. Yumi has been in seven productions at Heights Youth Theater including Aladdin, Peter Pan, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The King and I, Annie and The Wiz. Most recently, Yumi was seen in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown at Hathaway Brown Theatre Institute and has been in a number of other theater productions. Yumi also loves songwriting, playing the piano, music video production, her friends, and candy. Yumi recently wrote and co-produced a music video called “Girls.” www.yumindhlovu.com.
LAURA PERROTTA (Miss Shields) is a native New Yorker who has called Cleveland home for the last 21 years. She has appeared on television, Off-Broadway, toured nationally and worked regionally. She is honored and happy to return to Cleveland Play House with A Christmas Story. lauraperrottaford.com
MILES PIERCE (Understudy Randy) is a second grader at Roxboro Elementary School in Cleveland Heights. Miles’ appreciation for theatre was nurtured as a preschooler at The Music School. Outside of school performances, this is Miles' stage debut. Miles is thrilled to be part of the cast for his favorite family Christmas movie, strongly identifying with the role of Randy. Outside of theatre, Miles enjoys making music, playing soccer, and skateboarding.
SKIPPER RANKIN (Ralphie) landed the role of Randy in last year’s Cleveland Play House production of A Christmas Story after his debut performance as the understudy in A Carol for Cleveland. Highlights of his favorite performances include playing the title role in Oliver! and Ragtime, Near West Theatre; Peter Pan, Beachwood Community Theater; and The Wizard of Oz, The Beck Center for the Arts. Rarely will you encounter Skipper when he is not tap dancing, quoting lines or singing songs from his favorite Broadway shows, such as Kinky Boots, Les Misérables and Hairspray. When he isn’t tapping and singing, he is a middle school student and runs cross country at Lake Ridge Academy.
JAKE SPENCER (Randy) is a second grader at the Kenston School District in Bainbridge. His theatre experience began at Chagrin Valley Little Theatre (CVLT) with a supporting role in the Youth Theatre Program’s performance of Alice in Wonderland. Other CVLT credits include the mainstage production of The Curious Savage and the youth summer program production of The Wolf & The Seven Kids. Jake is proud to be making his debut appearance in professional theatre on the Allen stage. Jake also loves playing video games, wrestling with his little brother, and pickles.
IAN STEWART (Scut Farkas) is in seventh grade at the Brecksville-Broadview Heights Middle School. His first acting experience was at age six when he performed in The Wizard of Oz at the Brecksville Theater on the Square. Since then he has performed in over a dozen theatrical productions. Other Brecksville Theater on the Square credits include Oliver!, Aladdin, Snow White, and The Little Mermaid. Other credits include Les Misérables, Walsh Jesuit High School Center Stage Theater; My Son Pinocchio, Broadview Heights Spotlights Theater; and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Cassidy Theater. Ian also enjoys sports, skiing and hanging out with friends.
JEFF TALBOTT (Ralph) is thrilled to be back at Cleveland Play House for the holidays. Broadway credits include Sly Fox and Fortune’s Fool. Off-Broadway credits include Such Good Friends and Home of the Brave. Recent regional credits include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Odd Couple, Race, Circle Mirror Transformation, Frost/Nixon and Doubt. He has previously worked at Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Pioneer Theatre Company, Paper Mill Playhouse, Goodspeed Opera House, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Yale Repertory Theatre, Geva Theatre Center, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Missouri Repertory Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Syracuse Stage, among many others. Film and television credits include Julie & Julia, The Blacklist, Orange is the New Black, Unforgettable, Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos, all the Law & Orders, One Life to Live, and As the World Turns. His play, The Submission, won the Laurents/Hatcher Award and Outer Critics Circle’s John Gassner Award, was produced Off-Broadway by MCC Theater and has since been performed across the country. He is currently working on a new musical with composer Will Van Dyke. Jeff is a member of TACT and a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.
A Christmas Story Creative Team
JEAN SHEPHERD (Author/Screenwriter) was a radio, television and film personality, writer and actor. For almost three decades, he told stories — culled from his youth in Indiana, his adventures in the Army Signal Corps, and tales of the obscure and infamous — to eager radio audiences. He was on the air in Cincinnati from 1950 to 1954 and on WOR in New York from 1956 to 1977. Acting credits include The Goodman Theatre, on Broadway in Leonard Sillman's New Faces and Voice of the Turtle, and the film The Light Fantastic. He also did baseball sportscasts for the Toledo Mudhens and Armed Forces Radio. He created humorous narratives for PBS television collectively called Jean Shepherd's America, which later continued on PBS’ New Jersey Network as Shepherd's Pie. PBS/WGBH's American Playhouse teleplay credits include The Phantom of the Open Hearth, The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters, Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss and The Star-Crossed Romance of Josephine Cosnowski. He is best known for co-writing and narrating the film A Christmas Story (1983). He also wrote a number of novels including The America of George Ade, In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash; Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories and Other Disasters, The Ferrari in the Bedroom, and A Fistful of Fig Newtons. Jean Shepherd died on October 16, 1999.
PHILIP GRECIAN (Adapter) began his career as a ventriloquist and magician at the age of four. He started working at Colorado’s Creede Repertory Theatre at age 18 where his plays continue to be produced and where he has returned as a guest performer. After touring the Midwest in Androcles and the Lion, Philip became artistic/managing director and resident playwright of the community theatre he founded. He resigned in 1976 to create a professional theatre where he served as producer and artistic director. Philip has also worked as a writer/director in film, video and audio production. His adaptation of A Christmas Carol has become an annual tradition around the U.S., and his radio dramatization of Dracula! is now a staged radio production. Other plays include the widely popular The Velveteen Rabbit, The Dragon of Nitt, and Lion and the Lyre.
JOHN MCCLUGGAGE (Director) is delighted to return to Cleveland Play House and A Christmas Story. He has directed, taught and performed throughout the country over the past 30 years. Credits include Enchanted April, Cyrano, A Flea in Her Ear, Phantom, Fiddler on the Roof, Old Wicked Songs, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It and The Pajama Game. Theatres include San Jose Repertory Theatre (associate artistic director), The Barnstormers Theatre, Studio Arena Theatre, Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts, Cabrillo Stage, Children’s Musical Theatre of San
Jose, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, the Clurman and Beckett Theatres in New York and Seacoast Repertory Theatre (artistic director). Like Buck Hill Productions on Facebook!
The Design Team for A Christmas Story includes: ROBERT MARK MORGAN (Scenic Designer), DAVID KAY MICKELSEN (Costume Designer), MICHAEL BOLL (Lighting Designer) and JAMES C. SWONGER (Sound Designer). The Stage Manager for this production is JOHN GODBOUT and the Assistant Stage Manager is TOM HUMES.
A Christmas Story Special Events
Festival of Trees – Nov. 24 – Dec. 21 The Allen Theatre lobbies at PlayhouseSquare will play host to this beloved holiday tradition featuring a grand display showcasing dozens of trees exquisitely designed by a team of professional decorators. The magic and wonder of the season is in full swing at this truly unique event, which is FREE and open to the entire community, and sponsored once again by Dominion East Ohio. Festival of Trees will commence with the tree-lighting celebration Light Up the Night on Nov. 24 from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. and will feature a special performance by The Singing Angels.
A Christmas Story will take place in the Allen Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. Tickets range in price from $55-$75 each. Students and anyone under the age of 35 with a valid ID will be offered a special 50% off ticket price. To order single tickets please call 216-241-6000 or visit clevelandplayhouse.com. Groups of 10+ save up to 40% off single ticket prices; call 216-400-7027.
Light Up the (tech) Night!
Monday, Nov 24 | 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Join us for a special “Holiday” tech night with the Light Up the Night opening celebration of Festival
of trees. Hear from the director and designers, then sit in on a technical rehearsal (“tech”) to see how
set, lights, sound, costumes and actors all come together as opening night nears, all surrounded by the
beauty and majesty of dozens of uniquely decorated holiday trees.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org required. Details sent upon registration.
Behind-the-Scenes: How to Manage the Holidays
December 06, 2014 @ 11:00am - 12:30pm
From starting the first rehearsal to calling the final blackout, the Stage Manager is the engine that
keeps a production running. Try your hand at calling cues, a speedy scene change and more as CPH
Production Stage Manager John Godbout, and Director of Production Joe Martin, take us backstage to
discover what it takes to manage the magic of the holidays at CPH.
RSVP to email@example.com required. Details sent upon registration.
Talkbacks: A Christmas Story
December 07, 2014 @ 4:30pm - 5:00pm
December 14, 2014 @ 4:30pm - 5:00pm
Stay after the show to continue the conversation our plays start! TalkBacks offer the chance to interact
with the cast and CPH Artistic Staff in an open and lively Q&A about the play and the questions it
Founded in 1915, Cleveland Play House is America’s first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, Cleveland Play House has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate and entertain diverse audiences in Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. It has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,300 CPH productions. Cleveland Play House looks toward its centennial while performing in three state-of-the art venues at PlayhouseSquare in downtown Cleveland.
The Ohio Arts Council helps fund Cleveland Play House with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. We also thank the residents of Cuyahoga County for supporting Cleveland Play House through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.