Interview: Ken Kemp, ‘A Christmas Story’ Director at Rockville Little Theatre

You’ll shoot your eye out! Get ready fans of holiday fun, Rockville Little Theatre is bringing A Christmas Story to the Arts Barn just in time for the holiday season. Based on the 1983 movie, A Christmas Story tells the tale of Ralphie, a boy who wants a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas.

We spoke with Ken Kemp, director of Rockville Little Theatre’s production of A Christmas Story, coming to the Gaithersburg Arts Barn November 24 through December 9, 2018. Here is what he had to say about the show:

What attracted you to this show?

Ken Kemp
A Christmas Story Director Ken Kemp. Photo courtesy of the artist.

It’s a chance to put a new spin on a holiday classic that is beloved by so many people. For a lot of people, it’s not really Christmas until they see their favorite stories, like A Christmas Story, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph, or The Grinch.

What do you hope people get out of this production?

I hope they’ll get a chance to experience Ralphie’s story in a new, intimate way. The Arts Barn is such a cozy venue, you’ll feel like you’re a part of the story. The action literally fills the whole theatre!

Tell us a funny story about something that happened during auditions or in rehearsal?

This week (Halloween Eve) in rehearsal. We’re finally off-book, and the actors are starting to polish their characters. Cassandra Redding and Dean Fiala, the actors playing Mother and The Old Man, nailed the lamp breaking scene so well that parents who have been watching rehearsals for months laughed. Jim Camlek (Ralph) broke character and lost it. Great moment.

What’s the best thing about putting on a holiday show?

These stories are the things that bring us together – we can all remember the first time we saw A Christmas Story. As Ralph says, “Christmas was coming…beautiful, glorious Christmas,” and I’ve lost count of the number of people who have told me that A Christmas Story is their favorite holiday movie. We get to be a part of their fondest memories.

Why should people come and see this show?

This is a chance to see A Christmas Story like you’ve never seen it. Come experience it in a whole new way – live on stage – and make new holiday memories!

Rockville Little Theatre’s A Christmas Story plays November 24 through December 9, 2018, at the Kentlands Arts Barn – For tickets, call the box office at (301) 258-6394 or go online.

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Nicole Hertvik
A reformed child actor, Nicole got her BA in English literature before wandering the globe for a decade, writing and teaching English in Prague, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, and Paris. She eventually landed in NYC where she received a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and dabbled in theater as an actor, script reader, and dramaturg. Thrilled by the strong and diverse theater community she discovered in Washington, DC, Nicole wakes up every morning excited to contribute to DC Metro Theater Arts and other publications. Nicole studied journalism at Georgetown University and was a 2019 fellow at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Critics Institute. Email:, Instagram: @nicolehertvik, Twitter: @nicolehertvik, Facebook: Nicole Hertvik.