Looking to make the Christmas cinema experience extra special this season? Then take the family to the CM Performing Arts Center Noel S. Ruiz Theatre in Oakdale for live-action plays of Yuletide and winter favorites like “A Christmas Story: The Musical” and “Frozen Jr.”
This year’s winter repertory is meant to inspire families to gather in celebration of modern classics that have become fixtures of the season. As on-demand and streaming services have diminished the magic of once-a-year viewing, a theater performance brings back some of that annual aura in a special evening of music and dramatic interpretation. With many young people cast in both productions, the anticipated kid-friendly audience will revel in watching their peers act out their favorite scenes. For parents and adults, newfound nostalgia is promised with Ralphie’s hijinks.
Kate Arso, theater marketing and public relations manager, said these two productions “were selected as an old classic and a new classic. They both bring families together.” The Noel S. Ruiz Theatre prides itself in introducing younger children to the world of performance through productions that are age-appropriate (e.g. “Frosty the Snowman” and “Frog & Toad”). The theatre works directly with school officials to plan trips during the week for exclusive performances and often features interactive portions. While “A Christmas Story: The Musical” could not have a weekday performance, the William Floyd School District will be treated to “Frozen Jr.” later this month.
In discussing the transformative and rejuvenating power of theater, Arso said, “It’s a couple of hours to unplug from the world and immerse yourself in another world. With a television it’s too difficult to be distracted, but in a theater you’re swept up in the performance.”
Attesting to this belief, Arso had a family friend whose sister had passed and was able to find solace and escape in (ironically) the theatre’s production of “Ghost.”
As house staff is all volunteers, the experience at the theatre is made even more intimate by familiar faces who have a true joy in supporting the arts. For those looking for an extra-special holiday, VIP seating is available with a “grand tier” view at the back of the theater, where tables of four can gather complete with a snack platter and easy access to the concession stand during the performance.
“A Christmas Story: The Musical” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 6, 13, 14 18, 20, 21 and 2 p.m. on Dec. 4 and 22. Tickets range from $18 to $42.
“Frozen Jr.” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 7 with additional performances at 11 a.m. on Dec. 14, 21 and 2 p.m. on Dec. 15, 26. Tickets are $15.