The big news here isn't that the Kansas City Repertory Theatre has a hit big enough to hold it over, a once-rare occurrence that now seems to be the norm. To me, the big news about the Rep's Broadway-bound A Christmas Story: The Musical! is that for once, everywhere I go in Kansas City, people want to talk about theater.
In the past week, I have been phoned, e-mailed, Facebooked, texted, queried at lunch and approached at the Sun Fresh, all by local folk who want to dish about the show. In all the years I've been writing about theater, that's never happened. Like the official reviews -- my mixed but excited write-up is here, and here's Robert Trussell's more generous take -- the word-on-the-street ranges from thrilled to disappointed.
There's the local actress (who asked not to be named) who said the show as a whole and the "Take That" number in particular are as good as anything on Broadway.
There's the old friend from high school who has never seen a musical since we did The Pajama Game suddenly asking me what else is worth seeing.
There's local video-remix genius Pat Vamos dismissing the show as A Christmas Story: The Musical: The Ride.
You have a chance to make of it what you will all the way into 2010. A Christmas Story: The Musical! now runs until January 3. For tickets visit the Kansas City Repertory Theatre.
Also, anyone missing the Rep's traditional A Christmas Carol, you have two chances to catch up on the whole three-step ghost self-improvement program. At 7 p.m. this Saturday, at Wesport Prebyterian Church (201 Westport Road), local actors like Jennifer Mays and Martin Buchanan perform a staged reading of Dickens' classic. Then, next weekend, the great Nathan Granner's one-man reading of the tale at 7 p.m. December 10 and 11 at the Hemingway Gallery, 132 W. 9th Street. Tickets are available here.