BAR HARBOR — Audiences will be transported to another place and time when Acadia Community Theater (ACT) brings a holiday classic to the stage Dec. 1.
That place and time are the Midwest in the 1940s. The main character: a nine-year-old boy. The central drama involves wanting a BB gun for Christmas. And according to Director Douglas VanGorder, one lucky raffle winner will take home a special momento after the final show.
For fans of the 1983 movie “A Christmas Story,” these details are very familiar. The script is based on humorist Jean Shepherd’s memoir.
“It’s a fun story about a midwestern boy dealing with his family, friends, and a grumpy Santa Claus in the days leading up to Christmas,” explained VanGorder.
The play stays true to the movie version, but “with a few small changes,” VanGorder hinted. He said elements retained from the movie include “the Red Ryder BB gun, the tongue freezing to the post, and the leg lamp.”
As for the leg lamp, VanGorder said the prop will be raffled off after the production to support ACT.
“We have an excellent cast,” he said, “with everyone really adopting their character.”
Hayden Braun stars as Ralphie, with Tucker Atwood playing his older version. Bodie Tapley is his brother Randy, and Molly Dillon plays his sister Ronnie. Ralphie’s mother and “old man” are played by Jamie Creed and Matt Cornish. Friends Schwartz and Flick are Harlan Mahoney and Adam Loquasdro; with Noah Keeley as Scout Farkas, the neighborhood bully. Angel Hochman returns to the stage after many years behind the scenes, playing Ralphie’s teacher.
Jaylene Roths is in charge of costumes, tasked with recreating an “authentic 1940s-era look,” said VanGorder. Heather Chute Dillon is producer, Seth Clarke is stage manager and Matt Hochman is the technical director.
VanGorder is a first-time director, though he is no newcomer to the theater.
“I have done everything else, from being on stage, to filling the jobs of producer, stage manager, set builder and playing in the pit orchestra,” he said. “This has been a fun experience for me as my first go at directing.”
Performances are set for Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 2 at 2:00 p.m. at the Neighborhood House in Northeast Harbor. Performances the following weekend move to the Criterion in Bar Harbor and will be Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 8 at 11 a.m. Tickets are available at the door or online: $10 for adults, $8 for students/seniors/active military, and $6 for kids.