NY1's Shelley Goldberg goes backstage with the 12-year-old star of "A Christmas Story: The Musical."
He's just a Broadway baby. At 12 years old, actor Johnny Rabe is headlining one of the biggest shows this holiday season: "A Christmas Story: The Musical". It marks the Broadway debut for the Chicago native who's love of theater began at a very young age.
"My mom says that when I was two, I would just be standing on my chair, wanting to see the whole stage and see every single actor, and by four, I was actually saying 'I'd like to play that part, if I was the director I'd do this a little bit differently,'" Rabe says. "So I guess I've always loved it."
Based on the 1983 movie, the musical takes us back to the 1940s and tells the tale of 9-year-old Ralphie Parker and his Christmas wish for a certain toy, and follows Ralphie and his friends as they get into some sticky situations.
"When I was younger, things like sticking your tongue to a flagpole, things like that happened every day, testing out things and seeing if they worked," Rabe says. "One time, one of my friends dared me to stick my tongue to a flagpole, but I didn't do it because I had seen the movie so I knew it would happen!"
So how did Johnny find his way to a starring role on the Great White Way? With the support and encouragement of his parents.
"I think the best thing they did for me was just let me try a bunch of different things," Rabe says. "They let me do sports, almost every single sport that I could do. They let me do theater. They let me do everything I wanted to try. Kung-fu, I'm actually taking kung-fu now!"
And what advice does he have for any other budding Broadway babies?
"It doesn't matter what everyone else thinks about you. If you're doing a show, you just have to go out and give it your best and be content with what you've done," he says.
"It's so much fun. It's a great show. I just enjoy it. And I'm having such a great time, I don't have room to be nervous."
A Christmas Story is running through December 30. For more information, check out achristmasstorythemusical.com.