EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


November 13, 2013

'A Christmas Story' plus music


It’s a story that Lauria, who has had a long acting career but is best known for playing the father on “The Wonder Years,” knows well. He remembers the excitement leading up to Christmas with his own father, who was a truck driver.

“I’m from the era when you got one gift. You got your underwear and socks, but then one gift, and you usually knew what it was because Pop would say, ‘What do you want for Christmas?’”

Lauria’s present was usually sports-related.

“I was a jock,” he said. “Pop always came through. You didn’t ask for a lot because you knew it was a sacrifice, but he always came through.”

Lauria personally knew Darren McGavin, who played Ralphie’s grumpy-yet-loving father (the Old Man) in the movie. When “A Christmas Story” was originally released to a lukewarm reception, McGavin was frustrated.

“He said, ‘This is a good little movie,’” Lauria recalled. “Of course afterward, it became a classic.”

When asked the best part of starring in the show, Lauria said, The fact that I don’t sing a note. If I did, no one would come.”

In fact, when he told a friend that he had landed the staring role in a Broadway musical, she replied that she had just seen a pig fly by.

“I don’t even sound good in the shower,” he confessed.

Lucky, there is plenty of other musical talent to bring the show to life.

The score was written by Tony-Award-nominated composers and lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. The star-studded cast and crew is filled with Tony Award recipients and nominees, including director John Rando (”Urinetown”) and Caroline O’Connor (”Chicago,” “Moulin Rouge”) as Ralphie’s teacher, Miss Shields. Jake Lucas (”Newsies,” “Far From Heaven”) plays Ralphie.

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