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A Christmas Story: The Musical! 

When: Mondays-Saturdays. Continues through Dec. 30 2011
Price: $35-$79
This 2009 musical is way too faithful to the 1983 movie based on Jean Shepherd's nostalgic fiction, retaining even the moments that bomb onscreen (a soap-poisoning fantasy) or aren't stageworthy (a few seconds of nine-year-old Ralphie in a pink bunny suit). Director John Rando provides brisk pacing, but the songs by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul mostly belabor what's already obvious, stretching this anecdotal, lightweight affair to a wearying two-and-a-half hours. Still, unlike the film, the touring production features adult actors who understand style, a narrator who conveys Shepherd's wistful cynicism, and a Ralphie with enough charisma to claim the huge Chicago Theatre stage for his own. —Justin Hayford

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