FOX's A Christmas Story Live! boasts an impressive slate of Broadway veterans for the annual live musical telecast this year but the show is also packed with talented background singers and dancers. Its holiday carolers caught the eye of viewers, but who are the carolers in A Christmas Story Live!? They're actually a real a capella group put together by FOX alum Simon Cowell.
Its five members, Austin Porter, Nick Mara, Edwin Honoret, Brandon Arreaga and Zion Kuwonu, were all pursuing solo careers before Cowell and former label president Sonny Takhar suggested they merge into a group, after which they became known as a capella group PrettyMuch. They're based in LA now but the group members hail from all over Canada and the United States. PrettyMuch first picked up traction on social media, even though they have major label representation, after releasing renditions of Charlie Puth's "Attention" and dance tributes to Bruno Mars and Michael Jackson.
Soon after, they started making the award show rounds, performing their debut single "Would You Mind" at the 2017 Teen Choice Awards as well as the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. The accompanying music video, which was released last September, functions as a tribute to classic '90s boy band videos from the likes of Backstreet Boys and NSYNC.
A Christmas Story Live! is adapted from the 2013 Broadway musical based on the 1983 holiday classic starring Peter Billingsley. The movie was based on the semi-autobiographical short stories of writer and radio personality Jean Shepherd, who famously narrated the film. Matthew Broderick takes over his role for FOX's musical version, taking the voiceover-only part of Adult Ralphie in front of the camera as a sort of omnipresent on-screen narrator. It's a little bit of an odd effect for die-hard fans of the original, but the super talented ensemble of kids pulling off live song-and-dance numbers makes up for it. Speaking of the talented kids, the role of Young Ralphie is played by 11-year-old Andy Walken of Seattle, WA, who landed the role after a nationwide digital casting search by FOX.
Maya Rudolph and Chris Diamantopoulos tackle the roles of Mother Parker and Old Man Parker, Ralphie's parents, and Jane Krakowski and Ana Gasteyer round out the cast as Ralphie's teacher Miss Shields and his friend Schwartz's mom, respectively. Ken Jeong makes a pair of appearances playing a Christmas tree salesman and a restaurant owner in the memorable "Midwestern town" which serves as the story's backdrop. David Alan Grier also makes a cameo playing Santa Claus.
The musical comes from composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who also wrote the music for last year's hit Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen and Oscar darling La La Land. A Christmas Story: The Musical had a short-lived run on Broadway, so Pasek and Paul wrote a handful of new songs just for FOX's live telecast. Billingsley, who since his iconic turn as Young Ralphie in the movie has shifted to directing and producing, actually had a hand in developing the musical, serving as a consultant on the project.
"A Christmas Story has always meant a lot to me personally," Billingsley told The Hollywood Reporter in 2010. "I’m excited to bring this film to the stage because the story and the characters lend themselves so well to the world of musicals."
His dream of a "leg lamp kickline" really did come to fruition in the televised version of the musical, with Diamantopoulos performing alongside a chorus line of women dressed as the infamous prop from the film.
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