A Jewish Christmas Story
Weinstein sets much of the action within a Chinese restaurant—in fact, the same Chinese restaurant in which his family dined every Christmas—to show the creation of new rituals. The film playfully explains how Jewish families frequented the two businesses that were open on December 25th, movie theatres and Chinese restaurants, to make a holiday of their own that coincidentally brought members of non-Christian cultures together. The film stumbles somewhat when one of the talking heads tries to fire a charge of cultural appropriation against the Christians for celebrating Christmas.
Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas acknowledges the increasing secularization and commercialization of Christmas, but shows how the spirit of the holiday endures, if not strengthens, if one looks deep within the message. Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas pays tribute to the chosen people who defied their outsider status and covertly inserted themselves into mainstream tradition. Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas unfurls as a truly unique hybrid musical—a playful lark of a movie that pays homage to cheesy Christmas specials while subverting them with a personal touch.www.stringrecordings.com/img/alternate/sidelines.php
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Servers and kitchen staff belt out Christmas carols while serving heaps of egg rolls and fried rice in merry theatrical numbers. Weinstein also finds an appreciable multicultural cast of performers to illustrate the greater diversity of cultures that come together during the holidays whether for fruitcake or Chow Mein. Christmas is all about togetherness and this holiday doc-musical captures the universal notes of acceptance and inclusion embodied in the Yuletide spirit. It airs on CBC documentary channel Dec. Get Our Newsletter Have notification of new issues and content delivered to your inbox.
One of the quirks of the original was that the Old Man was so much an enigma, hard to read and difficult to get through to for the viewers in the same way he was for Ralphie. It was an accurate take on a stereotypical s father, who was more distant and cold to his children than their mother. This Old Man was softened to the point he wasn't even all that scary or intimidating when he was losing his mind over the furnace or those dogs, and it weakened the slow reveal of how much he really did love his children.
That moment came at the end, and it was well-earned, but both the musical and this live production brought the narrator Ralphie right into the action. Matthew Broderick was fantastic as the older Ralphie, narrating the action from within the scene with just the right amount of boyish wonder and middle-aged wisdom. The musical put the older Ralphie on the stage, but he wasn't as immersed in the scenes as he was on this television production, and it really added a lot of weight to those moments.
A Jewish Christmas Story | Chicken Soup for the Soul
It was the best of both worlds without having to deal with faceless narration throughout a live production, and offered a nostalgic wistfulness as he saw his childhood through fresh eyes. The infamous leg lamp that the Old Man was so proud of was given an upgrade to make it even more gaudy and awful for the stage musical, and it was that version that made it into Fox's production.
Now, it's not just the bulb at the top that lights up, but rather the entire fishnet-clad leg. This way, no matter how far away from the house you might get, there would be no mistaking that one-of-a-kind image shining through the window, much to Mrs.
Parker's dismay. To top it off, the Old Man got a gold leg lamp trophy and got to perform on stage with literal dancing leg lamps. Thankfully, his poor wife didn't have to see that particular fantasy. Some scenes didn't make it into the three-hour musical at all, like Ralphie's dismay that his Little Orphan Annie decoder ring was little more than an advertisement ploy. Perhaps producers figured kids would't know what a decoder ring was Also overlooked was bully Scutt turning on his cohort after Ralphie made the "loser" kids out of reach, as well as a lot of the little moments around the house, like the fuse blowing when the decorated Christmas tree was plugged in.
The goal of the musical was to shine a spotlight on the most iconic and classic moments from the film, expanding them and offering new insights into them, while also emphasizing inclusion in a way that the original didn't have, so some of the lesser moments had to go, though viewers might have preferred less dancing and more vignettes. Fans of the original know that Ralphie blamed his utterance of the dreaded f-word on a friend, leading to a whooping for that poor boy, but in this iteration that boy's mother got a musical number.
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Ralphie went to apologize and it set Ana Gasteyer up for a song about the Jewish holiday of Hannukah and the power of miracles. This piece is original to the Fox version, not even appearing on the Broadway stage. Jewish representation in "A Christmas Story" was only the first example of inclusion, with an incredibly diverse cast from the kids on up to the adults, and even David Alan Grier as Santa Claus.
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One of the praises often heaped on the original film was how flawlessly it evoked memories of real life. It reveled in minutiae, making it feel almost like a documentary over a fictional account of one family's Christmas. In , we know that real life is diverse and always has been, even if it wasn't always shown that way in the movies or on television. That oversight was rightly corrected in this production in regards to both race and body shape. Folks on Twitter were actually nervously anticipating the film's closing moment, where the Carolers sing to the Parker family.
In , it wasn't that big of a deal to play on the stereotype that Chinese people can't say the letter L properly, substituting the R sound instead.