Don’t miss the all-new holiday musical event A CHRISTMAS STORY LIVE! airing Sunday, Dec. 17 (7:00-10:00 PM) on FOX. A live musical event inspired by the holiday classic feature “A Christmas Story” and the Tony Award-nominated Broadway production “A Christmas Story: The Musical,” A CHRISTMAS STORY LIVE! follows nine-year-old “Ralphie Parker,” whose only dream is to get a Red Ryder Range Model Carbine Action BB Gun for Christmas. The three-hour musical event stars Emmy Award nominee Maya Rudolph (“Saturday Night Live,” “Bridesmaids”), two-time Tony Award winner Matthew Broderick (“How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying,” “The Producers,” “Manchester by the Sea”), Tony Award winner Jane Krakowski (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “30 Rock”), Emmy Award nominee Chris Diamantopoulos (“Good Girls Revolt,” “Silicon Valley,” “Episodes”), Ana Gasteyer (“Saturday Night Live”) and newcomer Andy Walken.
Marc Platt is the Executive Producer of the program. He is the Emmy Award-winning producer of FOX’s “Grease: Live.” He is an Academy Award-nominated producer, most recently for director Damien Chazelle's “La La Land” and Steven Spielberg's “Bridge of Spies.” Platt is also the Tony-nominated producer of the Broadway mega-hit “Wicked,” which has been seen by more than 50 million fans worldwide and globally has racked up $4 billion. Platt has developed some of the most successful film, theater and television projects of the last 30 years. His film resume also includes such titles as “Legally Blonde,” “Into the Woods,” “Drive,” “Rachel Getting Married,” “Scott Pilgrim” and “Wanted.” A former film executive, Platt served as president of production for three movie studios, where he oversaw box office and critical successes, including “Philadelphia,” “Rudy,” “As Good As It Gets,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Jerry Maguire” and “The Silence of the Lambs.”
We talked to Marc, and here are the excerpts:
Art Shrian: Hi, Marc. How are you doing?
Marc Platt: Good. How are you?
AS: Great. Thank you for taking the time. I just wanted to share that growing up in India as a non-Christian, we always loved Christmas and A Christmas Story, so I’m so excited for this to be coming soon.
As a storyteller, I know you talked a little bit about it, but if you could talk a little bit more about that, why do you think that A Christmas Story as a film and as a production—many Christmas films have such a wide reach beyond boundaries worldwide and to everybody, and why these stories connect with people and how that was important for you as a storyteller to make sure that that essence remains and it speaks to everyone.
MP: Well, it’s somewhat what I said, I don’t celebrate Christmas either, by the way, but I celebrate the holiday season because it’s a time of connectivity and connection and family and tradition, whatever your traditions are, it yields that feeling and that warmth and I think all people yearn for that. What makes A Christmas Story universal, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, is that feeling of I recognize that family. I recognize when the brothers don’t get along but they really love each other, or when mom and dad have a fight and then they make up. Or when disaster strikes, and the dinner is ruined they find a way as a family to get through it. The one thing that I wanted the most and I get, and I always thought my dad wasn’t listening, but he was. I think those are very universal, relatable ideas that are found in the movie that are centered around Christmas, which is why I think it’s so beloved.
The other thing about A Christmas Story that distinguishes it from all the other beloved Christmas films is that it’s not sentimental. Most Christmas films are wonderful, by the way, and I love so many of them, they’re very sentimental and they wear that sentiment on their sleeve. If you think of It’s a Wonderful Life, which is just a magnificent film, it was very sentimental.
A Christmas Story sort of undercuts that and was the unsentimental Christmas Story. There is tremendous sentiment underneath it because ultimately it is about a family connecting, a family being glued together through the holiday season, parents who love their children, and a grownup remembering what it was like to be loved by his family and his parents.
But it’s not done in a sentimental way, the film, and that’s what sort of made it so original, and it’s funny, it’s subversive. Just when you think it’s the perfect holiday dinner, the dogs eat the turkey and you have to go out for Chinese food. It sort of undercuts and takes a left turn away from every Christmas movie, but the feeling is honestly exactly the same.
And what the musical did so brilliantly is it brought out the sentiment that was in the subtext and it put it in the music, and if you don’t know the musical, that’s what you’ll experience in the telecast. You will laugh, you’ll see where it’s funny, you’ll see where it goes a left turn from every other Christmas movie, but at the end of the day you’re going to feel a warmth, and you’re going to feel a nostalgia and you’re going to feel comfort and a lot of that does come from the music.
AS: Thank you. I also want to congratulate you on the wonderful casting and the diversity of cast as well with Maya and Ken and David, which people may not expect, but they’re amazing performers and they’re also part of this diverse cast. So, congratulations, I’m really excited.
MP: Well, thank you for that and of course they are. Like I said, A Christmas Story is a universal story, and although it takes place in a particular period, in the 1940s, it’s a story and a family that feels like it’s a family from today. So, we wanted to make sure that our world and our Christmas Story reflected the world that we live in.
Art: Congratulations, And thank you.
MP: You bet.
Don’t miss the all-new holiday musical event A CHRISTMAS STORY LIVE! airing Sunday, Dec. 17 (7:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX.