To begin with, A Christmas Carol is dead. This must be distinctly understood or nothing wonderful can come of this story. The Kansas City Repertory Theatre has shucked off the chains of tradition and just this once banished its holiday perennial from Christmas present. In its place is world-premiering A Christmas Story, the Musical!, a Broadway-bound spectacular based on the witty, nostalgic film — pretty much the only other secular-ish, non-Peanuts Christmas story everybody likes. Directed by Rep Artistic Director Eric Rosen, featuring music and lyrics by Scott Davenport Richards, and starring talented kids as well as local favorites such as Karen Errington, Seth Golay and this year's Pitch Best Actress winner Vanessa Severo, this looks like the most ambitious undertaking yet for the daring new Rep. This time, the goal is nothing less than Christmas future. The show runs through December 27 at the Spencer Theatre in the UMKC Performing Arts Center (4949 Cherry). For tickets, call 816-235-2700.