Press Room


November 20, 2009
Contact: Heather Nowlin
(801) 581-7222

Pioneer Theatre Company Presents

Pioneer Theatre Company presents the Utah premiere of A CHRISTMAS STORY, the stage version of the classic holiday film based on the stories of Jean Shepherd.

Christmas is coming in Hohman, Indiana, and all nine-year-old Ralphie wants for Chrsitmas is the legendary official Red Ryder 200-Shot Carbine Action Range Model Air Rifle with a compass and this thing which tells time built right in the stock. The problem is that every adult in his life, beginning with his mother, is afraid he’ll shoot his eye out with it. Ralphie’s attempts to persuade Santa and his parents that he should get the Red Ryder gun form the basis for this heartwarming and nostalgic look at growing up in a small town in America in 1938.

Narrating the show as the adult Ralph, the character based on author and radio personality Jean Shepherd, is Equity actor JACK KOENIG. KOENIG was David Hyde Pierce’s standby in the Broadway revival of “Accent on Youth,” and played the Nazi major in the Off-Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s “Incident at Vichy.” He spent three years in “The Lion King” on Broadway, and received a Drama Desk Award as part of the Outstanding Ensemble of the Off-Broadway play “Tabletop.”

The character of ‘The Old Man,’ young Ralphie’s father, is AEA actor DON BURROUGHS. BURROUGHS’ NY credits include “Dessa Rose” at Lincoln Center, “Reunion” at Theatre Row (cast album), and the First National Tour of “The Full Monty.” He spent three years in the Las Vegas production of “Mamma Mia!” at Mandalay Bay. He returns to PTC after appearing as Oberon/Theseus in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Ralphie’s mother is played by Equity actress GABRA ZACKMAN. ZACKMAN’S NY credits include “On the Verge” in the New York Fringe Festival with John Houseman, “Train Story” by Adam Rapp, and new plays at Juilliard, Soho Rep, Lincoln Center Studio, The Harold Clurman, Premiere Stages and The Lake George Theatre Lab. This marks her PTC debut.

Miss Shields, Ralphie’s teacher, is played by REGAN THOMPSON. THOMPSON worked Off-Broadway in “Theophilus North,” in “I, Vermin” in the New York Fringe Festival, and has appeared at regional theatres across the country. Regional credits include the Hangar Theatre, Northern Stage, and Alabama Shakespeare Festival. This is her PTC debut.

Playing Ralphie, the kid on the legendary quest for the best Christmas present known to mankind, is Park City native MASON JOHNSON. An eleven-year-old sixth grader, JOHNSON makes his PTC debut. He appeared as Winthrop in the Egyptian Theatre Company production of “The Music Man” last year.

Ralphie’s little brother Randy is played by local actor CADEN MAYNES. MAYNES has appeared with the Hale Centre Theatre and the Children’s Theatre of Utah. He has been recoginized in national clogging events and is a member of the Salt Lake Children’s Choir. This is his PTC debut.

Ralphie’s classmate Esther Jane is played by ALEXIA “ALLY” IOANNIDES, also from Park City. IOANNIDES is appearing in the lead role of the current film “The Alice Winter.” Her other stage credits include “Charlie Brown,” “Willy Wonka,” and “Once On This Island,” all with the Egyptian Theatre Company.

The neighborhood bully, Farkas, is played by BROCK HOLMAN. HOLMAN has appeared in the recent film “A Pioneer Miracle.” He attends Bryant Intermediate School, where he has appeared in “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Once Upon a Mattress.” This is his PTC debut.

Ralphie’s two friends Flick and Schwartz are played by GAVIN YEHLE and BYRON MELVILLE respectively, and DYLAN REICHELT, LIZZIE ROSEN, LEO STILLINGER, JAXON M. WRIGHT, and ROBIN YOUNG perform as the kids in Ralphie’s class.

Returning to PTC to direct the production is PAUL BARNES. BARNES is a founding and producing director of the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, Minnesota. Utah audiences may also be familiar with BARNES’ work in Cedar City, where he has directed at the Utah Shakespearean Festival since 1993. He returns to PTC after directing many other productions, most recently last season’s “Romeo & Juliet,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and both the 2004 and 2005 productions of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.”

Assisting Barnes in direction of the show is MARGO ANDREWS. ANDREWS is an assistant professor in the theatre department at the University of Utah and also a graduate of the Actor Training Program. Further training includes the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, CA and Trinity Repertory Conservatory in Providence, Rhode Island. Margo’s professional career includes over 20 years of experience in stage work, television and film.

Resident Scenic Designer GEORGE MAXWELL designs the set. MAXWELL recently designed the sets for “A Chorus Line,” “Miss Saigon” and “My Fair Lady” at Pioneer Theatre Company, among many others. A member of United Scenic Artists, he has also designed sets for Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Utah Opera Company and the Utah Shakespearean Festival.

BRENDA VAN DER WIEL designs the costumes for the production. As costume shop manager for the University of Utah’s Theatre Department, VAN DER WIEL has designed several dozen shows for the Babcock Theatre and the Classical Greek Theatre Festival. She also frequently designs for Salt Lake Acting Company and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. In addition to many other credits at PTC, she has worked with Seattle Opera, Santa Fe Opera and the Utah Shakespearean Festival.

Guest designer KENDALL SMITH lights the production. As the Resident Designer for Michigan Opera Theatre for the last twenty years, he has designed over 55 productions. His many other regional credits include designs for Geva Theatre, Studio Theatre in D.C., Merrimack Repertory Theatre, and North Shore Music Theatre. His extensive opera designs include work for Minnesota Opera, Virginia Opera and Eugene Opera, among others.

Sound design is by PTC resident sound designer JOE PAYNE, and the hair and make-up designer is AMANDA FRENCH, PTC resident designer.

Pioneer Theatre Company, Utah’s premier resident professional theatre, performs at Roy W. and Elizabeth E. Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, located on the University of Utah campus at 300 South and 1400 East in Salt Lake City, easily accessible by TRAX light rail. Free parking is also available and the theatre is equipped with an elevator, handicap parking, hearing assistance devices and other easy-access features.

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MEDIA PHOTO SHOOT: There will be a media photo shoot on Saturday, November 21st, 2009, at 5:30 p.m. at Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 S. 1400 E., SLC. Please RSVP by calling 801-581-7222.

PHOTOS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD: High-resolution color photos of this production will be available for media use on the PTC website beginning Monday, November 23, 2009 after 3:00 p.m.

FILMING FOR TELEVISION: Filming a short segment of the production during Preview or Opening Night for press use can be arranged. Call 801-581-6270.

INTERVIEWS: Interviews with the cast and artistic staff are available. Call 801-581-7222.

PRESS TOURS: Tours of the set for the press are available. Call 801-581-6270.

Pioneer Theatre Company

By Philip Grecian, based upon the motion picture A CHRISTMAS STORY, (c) 1983 Turner Entertainment Co. Distributed by Warner Bros., written by Jean Shephard, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark, and based upon the book In God we Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shephard

December 4 – December 19, 2009

Mondays – Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays, 8:00 p.m.
Saturdays at 2 p.m.

Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre
300 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City

$22 – $40; Children in grades K – 12 are half price on Mondays and

Box Office (801) 581-6961. The Box Office is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Monday – Friday, and Saturdays when there are performances.

Don Burroughs* The Old Man
Jack Koenig* Ralph
Regan Thompson* Miss Shields
Gabra Zackman* Mother
Brock Holman Farkas
Alexia “Ally” Ioannides Esther Jane
Mason Johnson Ralphie
Caden Maynes Randy
Byron Melville Schwartz
Dylan Reichelt Understudy, Randy/Flick
Lizzie Rosen Understudy, Esther Jane/Helen
Leo Stillinger Understudy, Schwartz/Farkas
Jaxon M. Wright Understudy, Ralphie
Gavin Yehle Flick
Robin Young Helen

Director Paul Barnes
Assistant to the Director Margo Andrews
Set Designer George Maxwell
Costume Designer Brenda Van der Wiel
Lighting Designer Kendall Smith
Sound Designer Joe Payne
Wig and Make-up Designer Amanda French

*Denotes members of Actors’ Equity Association.