There’s no doubt that the hardest part about casting the family for A Christmas Story Live! was getting Ralphie just right, which they accomplished with 11-year-old Andy Walken. But Ralphie’s little brother was also an important role to fill, since there are a few memorable scenes you just can’t forget. But who plays Ralphie’s brother Randy in A Christmas Story Live!? Tyler Wladis is relatively new to TV, but the seven-year-old actor has some theater experience under his belt, so he’s more than prepared to handle the pressure that live performing adds. Though with the movie being live on TV, it may be an adjustment for him, as he doesn’t have as much experience in that arena.
The Fayetteville, New York native spoke to Syracuse.com about being cast for the role of Randy in A Christmas Story Live!, and judging by his excitement, it’s safe to say that he’s going to perform to the very best of his abilities. "I was screaming," Wladis said about learning the news that he'd landed the part. "I almost started to cry, but I didn't. I was so, so happy. I love my part. Randy is a very funny person." (Anyone else already in love with this kid?)
While Randy isn't the main star of the movie by any means, Randy is as memorable as the rest of the Parker family, and Wladis will get to act alongside some big stars as his on-screen parents. Maya Rudolph will be playing the mom, while the patriarch of the family will be played by Chris Diamantopoulos. But I doubt Wladis has been too intimidated by the star-studded cast for the live TV production.
Not only has he already been on-set rehearsing with the cast for weeks, but Wladis has also previously starred in a few different stage productions at the Syracuse Children's Theatre, even playing Chip in Beauty and the Beast at The Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine. According to his Syracuse.com interview, Wladis has also done some voice work, in the form of crying and screaming effects for the 2017 horror film It Comes at Night, but clearly theater is where the young actor’s main passion truly lies.
In the short time he’s been working, Wladis has managed to be in a number of stage productions and has drawn attention of critics as well. After his performance in Ragtime at The Ogunquit Playhouse in August, critic Bobby Franklin praised the young actor in his review. "Seven-year-old Tyler Wladis as The Little Boy was just phenomenal," Franklin wrote, adding:
I have never seen such talent in someone so young. Tyler had a huge part with many lines, both opening and closing the play. His opening monologue set the tone for what was to unfold. His expressions and movements about the stage were just impeccable. This young man has an energy and timing that is truly amazing. He was simply a joy to watch and will surely be seen again.
When Wladis' on-screen brother landed the role of Ralphie, he beat out more than 350 other young actors who’d auditioned for the role, so if his own audition process was anywhere near that level, then you have to imagine the kind of talent he already has at just seven years old. After watching him play Randy in A Christmas Story Live!, there’s no doubt that more doors will be opened for Wladis, and since he seems to be just as adorable in real life, I’m all for watching his star rise.
The three-hour live musical event will air on FOX on Sunday Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. EST., so get your leg lamp and pink bunny pajamas ready.
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