The Highs and Lows of A Christmas Story Live!

Aside from a few flubbed lines and sound issues, A Christmas Story Live! went f without a hitch. Well, except for one big hitch: the show itself.

We at Vulture had never seen the stage version A Christmas Story: The Musical, so this was our first look at it in any format. And we were not crazy about the adaptation the 1983 holiday movie classic, itself an adaptation portions Jean Shepherd’s book In God We Trust (All Others Pay Cash). Despite the fact that the stage version and the core this TV special was written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the duo responsible for Broadway darling Dear Evan Hansen, the song-and-dance take on the story a boy who covets a Red Ryder BB gun didn’t match the sardonic sensibility its source material. There are some tender moments in the film, which runs for 24 straight hours on TBS every Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but there’s also a delicious dark streak running through it that the musical version avoided entirely. A Christmas Story Live! was too insistent on being nice, when it would have benefitted from a lot more naughty, and not just the leg-lamp kind.

The live version also turned the unseen narrator, the older version Ralphie who’s voiced in the film by Jean Shepherd, into a visible element the show in the form Matthew Broderick, who haunts the scenes like the Ghost Ferris Bueller Past. On the other hand, this production gave us the opportunity to see Ana Gasteyer sing a brand new, written-especially-for-Fox song about Hanukkah. And that was kinda fun. There were some highs and some lows, and here’s a list all them.