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Box Office (216) 241 6000

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Cleveland’s Favorite Holiday Tradition Returns with CPH’s Production of A Christmas Story

Posted November 5, 2015 in Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media contact:

Kelly Luecke

KellyLuecke@yahoo.com

(216) 712-6292

Nov. 27 – Dec. 23 in the Allen Theatre

Press Opening Night: Wed., Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m.

CLEVELAND, OH (November 5, 2015) Though set in Indiana, Clevelanders have always claimed A Christmas Story as their own. Several scenes from the iconic movie were filmed in Cleveland in the early 1980s, and since then, devoted northeast Ohio fans have held a special place in their hearts for the humorous and heartwarming tale of a boy and his ultimate Christmas wish. Based on the short stories of author Jean Shepherd, the movie version of A Christmas Story has been delighting TV audiences for over 30 years, while the play has broken box office records at CPH as its most popular show to date. Cleveland Play House’s light-hearted production of this beloved holiday classic follows the adventures of little Ralphie Parker on 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 27 – December 23 in the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square. CPH’s generous sponsors include Centennial Season Sponsor KeyBank and Centennial Community Outreach Sponsor Dominion. Cleveland Play House is also grateful to the George Gund Foundation and the Cleveland Foundation for their generous support of the Centennial Season.

A Christmas Story is the witty and heart-warming stage 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 nine-year-old Ralphie Parker down the streets of Indiana on his quest for the ultimate Christmas gift. Incorporating all of the most memorable elements from the movie, along with some exciting new scenes for the stage, A Christmas Story has become the most popular show 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

CHRISTOPHER GERSON (The Old Man) is pleased to be returning to Cleveland Play House to reprise his role as The Old Man. He was most recently seen at the Pearl Theatre in New York in The Little Prince, on the TV Land show Younger, and playing Benedict (opposite his wife’s Beatrice) in Much Ado About Nothing at the Great River Shakespeare Festival. Other recent New York credits include Red Bull Theater, Lark Theatre Company, and New Georges. Some regional credits include The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, South Coast Repertory, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Pioneer Theatre, Actor’s Gang, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, A Noise Within, and The Odyssey Theatre. Television and Film credits include Desperate Housewives, Days of our Lives, Chicago Hope, The Language of Kickball, Fort Greene, Echo’s Hammer and Darwin: The Series.

HENRY HARTE (Scut Farkas) is proud to make his Cleveland Play House debut in A Christmas Story. Henry most recently appeared in the Woodbury Drama Club production of The Little Mermaid and in Onaway Little Theater's production of Mother Goosed. He attends 6th grade at Woodbury School in Shaker Heights. When he is not acting, Henry keeps busy playing cello, writing plays, ice skating and reading history books. He holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and has attended 23 Civil War reenactments.

MADELEINE MABY (Mother) is thrilled to be back at Cleveland Play House doing A Christmas Story! 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); and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Atlantic Theater Company). Favorite regional credits include Boeing-Boeing and Witness for the Prosecution at The Barnstormers Theatre in New Hampshire. Madeleine went to NYU Tisch School of the Arts where she studied at The Atlantic Theater Company and in London. When she's not doing theatre, Madeleine is narrating audiobooks and enjoying newly married life.

MAELA MAZZONE (Esther Jane) is absolutely thrilled to be playing Esther Jane in A Christmas Story! She has previously been seen in Geauga Lyric Theater Guild’s production of The Wizard of Oz and in the Willoughby Fine Arts Association’s production of Willy Wonka. She enjoys playing the violin, taking voice and dance lessons and being part of a choir. Maela is a third grade student at Andrews Osborne Academy. When not playing Harry Potter games with her family and friends, she can often be heard singing her favorite songs from Wicked and Les Misérables.

SAM LLEWELLYN MORRIS (Understudy Ralphie, Schwartz, Flick and Scut Farkas) is happy to have this first opportunity to work at CPH. He discovered a love for performing this summer while doing publicity appearances (as “Ralphie” in the bunny suit), and especially enjoyed his most recent work as Huckleberry Finn at the Maplewood Farms Johnny Appleseed Festival. A seventh grade student at Shaker Heights Middle School, Sam plays bass clarinet, runs cross country, is a skilled gymnast, and loves juggling, unicycling, and singing.

HOWARD “HOWEY” NOCK (Schwartz) was a spokesperson for Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC), Fall 2014. As a spokesperson, Howey’s Great Lakes Science Center billboards were placed in prominent locations around downtown Cleveland. As a spokesperson for the GLSC, Howey appeared in an advertising video, which aired in local movie theaters and on television. It was also pushed to various social media sites and aired on local radio stations. Howey loves singing. He auditioned and was selected to perform in the 2014 Ohio Music Education Association, All State Ohio Children’s Chorus, live recording. Howey, for relaxation, read 149 library books this summer. Howey dreams of being a computer scientist. Howey plays travel soccer, enjoys Cub Scouts and attending Rhema Fellowship Church. He hopes to travel to Ireland and reconnect with relatives again. A fifth grader at University Lower School, Howey’s siblings, Caleigh, Ethan and Gabe, serve as one of Howey’s inspirations.

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 (Randy) is a third 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, Miles made his stage debut in last year’s production of A Christmas Story. Miles is thrilled to be part of the cast for his favorite family Christmas movie, strongly identifying with the role of Randy. In addition to theatre, Miles enjoys making music, playing soccer and skateboarding.

WILLIE ROSE (Flick) is very honored to make his debut on the Cleveland Play House stage. He is, however, no stranger to the stage and has performed in The Wizard of Oz and Bah Humbug (Garfield Players); Alice In Wonderland, Jr. (Olmsted Performing Arts); A Year With Frog & Toad (Solon Center for the Arts); Pippin (Trinity High School Theater). He is also a member of Garfield Heights Youth Theater and has performed in Oz, Seussical, Jr. and Into The Woods, Jr. Willie loves everything theatre and show choir and is in constant motion either dancing or singing.

CARTER SINDELAR (Ralphie) 9 year old Carter is thrilled and grateful to have landed the role of Ralphie in his debut performance with Cleveland Play House! Previous theatre credits include playing the title role in Oliver!, Hillbilly Holiday and Mr. Toad's Mad Adventures (Beck Center for the Arts). When Carter's not on stage you'll find him with a book in his hand, breaking a board in his karate class, or laughing with his 4th grade friends at Kensington Intermediate School in Rocky River.

SUN-HEE SMITH (Helen) landed the role of Helen in A Christmas Story after appearing in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (Cassidy Theatre); Hillbilly Holiday (Beck Center for the Arts); and Once Upon a Mattress (Olmsted Performing Arts). She is a fourth grader at St. Bernadette School. She loves to sing, write stories and play volleyball. She plays piano and flute and speaks a little Korean.

FAITH SMOLIK (Understudy Esther Jane and Helen) was cast in her first role at Geauga Lyric Theatre’s production of The Wizard of Oz. She appeared in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Fine Arts Association. She participates in Theatre Art Camps at Fine Arts Association culminating in an end of camp performance choreographed and acted out by all the summer camp students. Performances include Keep on Trucking and Big Foot in the Mist. When Faith is not performing, auditioning, or attending acting lessons, she enjoys participating in dance recitals for ballet and tap. Faith loves singing and acting out her favorite Broadway performances, such as Les Misérables, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Annie, and The King and I. She is a middle school student at St. Gabriel School.

JEFF TALBOTT (Ralph) is so happy to be back for the holidays in magical Cleveland. Broadway credits include Sly Fox and Fortune’s Fool. Off-Broadway credits include Abundance, Such Good Friends and Home of the Brave. 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 and Chicago Shakespeare Theater, among many others. Film and television credits include Julie & Julia, The Blacklist, Orange is the New Black, Unforgettable, Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos, Law & Order, 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 writes musicals with composer Will Van Dyke. Their musical Imagine Harry was recently featured in the 2015 NAMT Festival of New Musicals, and they also recently released an EP of their songs called A View of the River (available on iTunes). Jeff is a member of TACT and a graduate of the Yale School of Drama. jefftalbott.com

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),

JAMES C. SWONGER (Sound Designer), and WIGS AND WHISKERS (Wig Design). The Stage Managers for this production are JOHN GODBOUT and MARYANN MORRIS and the Assistant Stage Manager is TOM HUMES.

A Christmas Story Special Events

Behind the Scenes: Kids Say the Darndest Things

December 12 from 11:00am - 12:30pm

Join us for hot chocolate, Christmas cookies, and a moderated discussion with the child actors from A Christmas Story, plus an acting workshop that will be fun for the entire family.

Visit clevelandplayhouse.com to register.

Talkbacks: A Christmas Story

December 06 – Immediately following the 2:30 performance

December 13 – Immediately following the 2:30 performance
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 raises.

Festival of Trees – Nov. 27 – Dec. 24

The Allen Theatre lobbies at Playhouse Square 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.

Ticket Information

A Christmas Story will take place in the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square. Tickets range in price from $20-$80 each. Students under the age of 25 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.

# # #

Cleveland Play House, recipient of the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award and founded in 1915, is America's first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, CPH 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. CPH has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,600 productions. Today, Cleveland Play House celebrates its centennial while performing in three state-of-the art venues at Playhouse Square 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 Countyfor supporting Cleveland Play House through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

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