The Prologue begins on Christmas Eve “many years ago’ with a middle aged Jean Sheperd walking to the WOR station in NYC to deliver his nationally beloved radio show. He starts to tell us the story of Ralphie Parker, a fictionalized version of his childhood self.
The curtain rises on the Parker family home, nestled in the unremarkable town of Hohman, Indiana in 1940, as they try to get out the door for the event of the season: the unveiling of the Higbee’s Department Store holiday window display. Ralphie excitedly announces to us the thing he most longs for: The Official Red Ryder Range Model Carbine Action BB Gun. As he sings, we meet the rest of the Parker family. Mother bustles about, getting everyone suited up and ready to go. The Old Man comes in from the cold, chased by his arch nemeses, the Bumpus Hounds, a pair of bloodhounds who plague him everytime he enters and exits the house. Seven-year-old Randy, the baby of the family, endearingly resists going out into the cold Indiana air.
Finally the family members are on their way and arrive at Higbee’s, where it seems all of Hohman has congregated to gaze in awe at the holiday window display (“It All Comes Down To Christmas”). It’s then that Ralphie sees the Red Ryder BB Gun right before his eyes and rapturously fantasizes about how much better his life would be if only he could get that for Christmas (“Red Ryder Carbine-Action BB Gun”). As he finishes, the crowd returns, with adults and children bustling about and singing about the importance of pulling offthe perfect Christmas Season (“It All Comes Down To Christmas -Reprise”).
The crowd dissipates, and we’re once more in the Parker family home where we find the Old Man hard at work on a crossword puzzle as Mother makes breakfast. As The Old Man attempts to solve the puzzle (with a little surreptitious help from Mother) he waxes poetic about how everyone would finally know how great he was if he could just win the award he’s completed so