August Frank/Inland 360
TJ Richardson, center, playing the father, lifts up a miniature leg lamp celebrating his major award during a rehearsal for the Civic Theatre production of “A Christmas Story” in Lewiston.
Eleven-year-old Connor Stout, a sixth grader at Heights Elementary School in Clarkston, plays 9½-year-old Ralphie Parker in the Lewiston Civic Theatre’s “A Christmas Story: The Musical,” opening next Thursday, Nov. 30.
Stout, who has his very own Red Ryder carbine-action BB gun at home (and hasn’t shot his eye out), appears alongside an ensemble cast of theater stalwarts and newcomers. TJ Richardson is Ralphie’s father, Amy Baker Stout (his real-life mom) is his mother and Lisa Lovelace Squires makes her Lewiston Civic Theatre debut as his teacher, Miss Shields.
But it’s the kids who might just steal the show, including Ripken Canner and Eddie Bell, who share the role of Ralphie’s little brother, Randy, and Rayland Zeliff and Bentley Smith, who play Ralphie’s best friends, Flick (the kid who licks the pole) and Schwartz (the one who triple-dog dares Flick to do it). And Civic Theatre regulars might recognize Anna Liedke, who returns to the stage as bully Scut Farkus.
Inland 360 sat down with Connor, as Ralphie, to learn about his character’s motivations:
Inland 360: What are you asking Santa for this year?
The one thing I’ve wanted more than anything for the past couple months is a Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time.
360: Sounds like fun. Think it’ll happen?
Well, my mom doesn’t think I should have one. She thinks I’ll shoot my eye out. But I’m going to try to talk to Santa to see if he’ll get one for me at Higbee’s.
I told my teacher I wanted one, in a C
hristmas theme she made us write, but she gave me a C+ and wrote a note at the bottom saying “You’ll shoot your eye out.”
360: Are you saying the odds are stacked against you?
Yeah. My chances with my dad might not be that great either. We had a flat tire when we were going shopping for a Christmas tree, and when he went out to fix it my mom sent me out to help. He told me to hold the hubcap while he put the lug nuts on, but he stood up and hit me in the arm, and I let go of the hubcap, and the lug nuts went flying — and a word slipped out of my mouth. I won’t say it in the newspaper, but it sounded a bit like “fudge.”
Have you ever tasted Life Buoy soap?
360: Yeah, the gun might be a tough sell at this point. Other than the C+ on your Christmas theme, how’s school?
August Frank/Inland 360
Flick, played by Rayland Zeliff, instantly regrets acting on a triple-dog dare as his tongue becomes stuck to a pole.
It’s been pretty eventful, especially recently. My two best friends, Schwarz and Flick, have always argued about sticking your tongue to a flagpole in the winter. But the other day Flick actually did it.
They called the police department, a fireman and a doctor to help pry him off the pole, and now he’s got a bandage on his tongue.
360: That does sound eventful. Anything else?
We’ve got a serious bully problem. There’s these two kids: Scut Farkus and Grover Dill. Farkus is the ringleader, and Dill usually just goes along with whatever he says.
Every morning before school, Farkus p
icks a random kid to pick on, putting him in a headlock until he’s finished with the “Say uncle” routine.
Then he puts his hat on the ground and makes us give him all of our lunch money.
360: That’s not very in keeping with the holiday spirit. Any good news?
Oh yeah, recently my old man
won a major award in a crossword puzzle contest thing. It’s a lamp, shaped like a leg. And well, I’m not gonna say too much about it. But it’s lovely. He put it in the window, and the neighbors are all really proud of him. Mom doesn’t seem too happy about it though.
360: So if Santa brings that Red Ryder, do YOU think you’ll shoot your eye out?
No. I think that’s a really dumb concept that moms just made up to try to keep their kids from getting what they want.
Stone (she/her) can be reached at email@example.com.
IF YOU GO
Lewiston Civic Theatre’s “A Christmas Story: The Musical”
7 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays Nov. 30 through Dec. 17.
Normal Hill Campus, former Lewiston High School auditorium, 1114 Ninth Ave., Lewiston.
$20 adults, $17 seniors/veterans, $15 students, $12 children 5-11 at lctheatre.org
The production, based on the 1983 film, “includes some mild adult language and some suggestions of strong language” (see Ralphie’s description of the tire-changing incident).