Dec. 12, 2018 — The Last Resort Players invite the community to come back in time to Christmas 1938 in small town America — when kids listened to radio shows, watched cowboy westerns on Saturdays and walked to school for miles in a snow storm.
Rising young actor Shiloh Penrod takes the stage this December as Ralphie Parker in the holiday classic, “A Christmas Story,” with visions of a tacky leg lamp, being blinded by soap poisoning, Scut Farkas (the school bully) and of course, a Red Ryder BB Gun, dancing in his head. Never mind that he has been warned by all the grown-ups “he’ll shoot his eye out;” his Christmas wish is to own that air rifle and he’ll go to great lengths to convince his parents and Santa he should have it.
The story was originally written by humorist, actor and author Jean Shepherd in the 1970s about his childhood in Indiana. In 1983, MGM produced, “A Christmas Story,” which has since become a cult classic during the holiday season.
In 1999, a two-act theater stage production was adapted by Phillip Grecian and the iconic leg lamp continues to glow every year on stage, on television and in our hearts.
For this Last Resort Players stage performance, veteran actor Gary Miller portrays the narrator, Ralph Parker, all grown up, as he retells his memories in fantasy and flourish. He recounts the days leading up to Christmas and the many events that made this holiday the most memorable of all.
Ralphie’s parents are played by Shawn Penrod as “the Old Man” and lovely Laura Miller as doting Mother Parker. The role of Ralphie’s little brother Randy is played by young comedian and second grader, Jobie Gates. Family resemblance is no coincidence, as Shawn and Shiloh are actually father and son, and Shiloh and Jobie have known each other since Jobie was born.
The show is filled with hysterical and touching moments, from scenes of a tongue stuck to a flagpole to the memory of young Ralphie accidentally uttering “the bad word” in front of his father, who has his own special language of euphemisms. The patient teacher, Miss Shields, is portrayed by Portia Neff, who has fantasies of her students turning in well-written theme papers.
School children that bring the classroom scenes to life are: Joey Haines, Matilda Hand, Vera Blas, Sylvia Hand, Clara Ledbetter and Eleanor Hand. The kids appear in several scenes throughout the show, including the department store “Santaland,” where Schwartz’s baby brother Marley Treyson will also make an appearance.
Adding to the humor and rounding out the community cast are Grant Harmond, Madelynn Levi, Paul Deemer, Ernie Leone, Michelle Dougherty, Briana Loomis, Sarah Cavallero and Dorland Neale as Santa Claus. They appear throughout the show in various cameo roles.
Behind the scenes, the Last Resort Players production team is comprised of Jennifer Chaney, Cathy Dupont, Portia Neff, Sheri Susee, Dana Rodet, Sabrina Hand, Karylynn Keppol, Paula Ziegelasch, Angela Apodaca, Alysha Atkinson and Matt Miller.
“A Christmas Story” will be performed under the lights on the flat floor at the Florence Events Center on Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 13 to 15, at 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee performance on Sunday, Dec. 16.
Tickets are limited, so plan for the holidays and buy your tickets now at the FEC box office, online at EventCenter.org or by calling 541-997-1994 between 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.