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Meet Johnny Rabe: A Christmas Story's new Ralphie

The star of Broadway's A Christmas Story talks about his favorite part of the musical, meeting Peter Billingsley and dressing up like a cowboy.

Watching A Christmas Story has become a holiday tradition for many families—we even named it one of our favorite Christmas flicks. This season, the classic story made the jump from screen-to-stage with a brand-new Broadway musical. Stepping into the famous role of Ralphie is Johnny Rabe, 12, from Naperville, IL. We chatted with the young star about being part of this new production.

What did you do when you found out that you had gotten the part of Raphie?
I started jumping up and down and screaming—even though that isn't good for my voice. This show is so much fun, the creative team and cast members are awesome, and the music and dancing are amazing. Being Ralphie in the show is a dream come true for me.

Were you a fan of the movie beforehand?
I am a very big fan of the movie. My dad loves it too. Our family has always watched the movie several times each Christmas.

What did your friends think when you told them you were going to be Ralphie?
They were all very happy for me and have been very supportive. I miss them, but we stay in touch via Skype and Facebook.

Tell us about meeting the original "Ralphie"—Peter Billingsley. Did he have any tips for you?
It was very exciting to meet him. I was a little nervous about following in his footsteps as Ralphie, but he told me to be my own Ralphie and to have fun!

What's your favorite part of the musical?
The "Ralphie to the Rescue" fantasy number. It's where I get to dress up like a cowboy and save my teacher and my family.

Are you enjoying being in the city during the holdays?

My mom and I have gotten to see a lot of Broadway shows. We're enjoying the sights of the city and exploring some of the great restaurants in the theater district. I'm hoping to go skating at Rockefeller Center soon!

Plans for the future?
I love history and think I might want to teach history at a college. However, I also have a new dream role. I saw Phantom of the Opera last night and met Hugh Panaro—now one of my dreams is to be the Phantom!

A Christmas Story plays at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater through Sunday, December 30.

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