By Jamie Bullins
Beatrice Community Players, Friday, December 9, 2022, 7:30 pm.
It’s not Christmas, really, until A Christmas Story comes back around, in some form or another. When I took a walk through the neighborhood the other night and saw the “soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window” featured in the upstairs window of a house along the way, I knew, then I knew, that the season was officially here. Based on the 1966 book by Jean Shepherd, In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, and released as a film adaptation in 1983, it runs on television for 24 hours from Christmas Eve through Christmas Day annually since 1997; on stage as a play since 2000, and a musical adaptation since 2009, this story permeates the holiday for us all. For this reason, I don’t need to say much here. There are no surprises unless you haven’t heard the music for the adaptation previously. Or you’ve been living under the proverbial rock for the last 39 years.
The set, costumes, and props are effective and exceptional, especially the kick line number. Oh, you’ll know it when you see it. And the Santaland elves are sharply clad in their holiday best. The living room is charming and cozy and the textures and attention to detail in the boys’ room are well thought out and appreciated.
Thank you to the ensemble who made this happen. Your commitment, joy in the season, and love for this story, is infectious. The narrative voice is an essential piece of the puzzle, and Bruce Hahn leads us warmly through the cherished text. When Laura Bigley leads us through Just Like That, you may want to have a tissue handy. Lovely. Callan Williams brings all the gruff, care, and wit to the Old Man that you could hope for. And the finale will also bring all the feels to the surface, unless your personal grinch is in full force. Get your tickets now. You don’t want to be left out of the smiling faces and hearts growing three sizes around you (to continue the grinch references).
And I wish Jamie Ulmer all the best as he takes the next step in his journey. Thanks for your 25 + years of blood, sweat, and tears here with the Beatrice Community Players. What a great story to tell as a closing of such a phenomenal career.
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it, the theatre here in Nebraska has heart. You remind me consistently that each of you want to be here, on this stage, putting in the work with passion. Thank you, Beatrice Community Players, keep telling your stories.
If you go: You can catch A Christmas Story the Musical December 10-11, 16-18, Fridays/Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 2:00 pm. Tickets may be purchased online.
Jamie Bullins is on the faculty in the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film at UNL, since the fall of 2017. He is an Educator, Scenographer, Director, and Playwright and has been at it for almost 30 years now.
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