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Film to stage for beloved holiday tale

A cast of nearly 70 at West will perform theater version of 'A Christmas Story'

Emily Liu/The Sun
Students rehearse for the show on Nov. 2. There will be four performances beginning later this month.

Cherry Hill West will get the community into the holiday spirit beginning Thursday, Nov. 30, with its fall musical, “A Christmas Story,” based on the movie of the same name.

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The 1983 film is an annual event for many and the TBS channnel created its own tradition with a 24-hour marathon each year. The story is set in winter of 1940 in Indiana and despite its age, the film is still relatable said some West cast members.

“I grew up with this movie and it was really important to me and a lot of my family, so it was really cool getting to be on the other side of this,” said junior Julian Dappalone, who plays the narrator, Jean Sheperd.

“I think the story really embodies the Christmas spirit and it really brings you back, (and) even though it’s a time piece set back in the 1940s, any kid can relate to wanting a Christmas present more than anything and doing anything you can to get it.”

Show director Carolyn Messias, a West theater teacher, noted that the story is basically about a young boy, Ralphie Parker – played by West freshman Sophia Capprotti – who wants a BB gun for Christmas that his mother won’t buy.

“The whole movie is this fantasy of how he’s going to convince his mother to let him have this BB gun, that’s really what the movie is,” Messias explained. ” … It’s one of those classics that just brings families together, as odd as it is. It’s not your typical Christmas movie, like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ It’s just a fun kind of glimpse into this 1930s family.”

The West show will also feature 35 elementary- and middle-school students in the township, bringing the cast number to about 70.

“I tried to make this really a district-wide thing, so it’s a lot of fun for the high-school kids to have the little ones around,” Messias said. “The students are from all three middle schools and from a handful of the 19 elementary schools.

” … It’s been really fun.”

A full house will be constructed on stage to represent the Parker home and there will be songs and dances adapted from the movie. The beloved tale has meant new opportunities for the cast.

“I think it’s just so awesome that I have the opportunity to do that and make the character my own, and do things that other people maybe wouldn’t do …” said Alex Santos, who plays Ralphie’s Dad. “My parents were like, ‘I can’t wait.'”

“It is definitely a comedy, it’s a family comedy,” Capprotti pointed out. “All the scenes and everything blend really nicely. They did a good job of keeping all of the classic stuff in there and quoting a bunch of lines, but when you see it on stage, it doesn’t feel unnatural.

“It all looks like it would fit together very nicely.”

Show times will be 7 p.m. on opening night; 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1, and Saturday, Dec. 2; and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3.


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