by Kara Petrovic // Spring 2010
Artistic Director Eric Rosen took a chance by putting the Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s beloved holiday production of A Christmas Carol on hold for a year, but his gamble paid off. The Rep’s world premiere of A Christmas Story, The Musical!, which Rosen directed, became the highest-grossing production in the theater’s 45-year history, earning more than $883,000. The Rep also experienced single-day record-breaking ticket sales of $47,000 when tickets were first released to the public Oct. 1. Previous first-day sales for A Christmas Carol averaged about $34,000.
The musical—based on the popular 1983 classic movie A Christmas Story and short stories by Jean Shepherd—follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker, who only wants one thing for Christmas: “an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time.” The Rep opened the show Nov. 20. The musical, originally scheduled to conclude Dec. 27, was extended an additional week due to popular demand.
“Developing and directing this show has been a wild ride,” Rosen says. “It was a calculated risk to put our time-honored production of A Christmas Carol on hiatus for a year so we could develop this new musical, but the decision has paid off in more ways than we ever anticipated. The numbers prove that audiences – first timers and long-time devotees of our previous holiday show – loved A Christmas Story, The Musical!.”