Maya Rudolph to star in Ardmore native's 'Christmas Story' on Fox

The 71st Annual Tony Awards – Arrivals
Justin Paul and Benj Pasek (right) in June at the 71st annual Tony Awards.

BEVERLY HILLS — Maya Rudolph will play the mother of the 9-year-old protagonist in Fox’s live musical A Christmas Story, the network announced Tuesday during the Television Critics Association’s summer meetings.

The show, which will run 7-10 p.m. Dec. 17, was scored by Ardmore’s Benj Pasek and his composing partner, Justin Paul, who are writing several new songs for the TV version. Their year so far has included a Tony Award for their musical Dear Evan Hansen and an Oscar and a Golden Globe for their La La Land song “City of Stars.”

The Broadway version of A Christmas Story: The Musical — based on the movie of the same name, which was based on Jean Shepherd’s book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash — opened in November 2012. It was nominated for three Tony Awards, including best musical, best original score,  and best book of a musical.

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Marc Platt, the Penn grad and prolific producer behind Grease: Live and next year’s Rent: Live, told reporters, “This will not feel like you’re watching a stage presentation.”

“Audiences have such an expectation” because they’ve seen the movie, Pasek said. “It’s really our responsibility to make sure we’re digging into the emotional moments” and preserving the things fans want to see.

He and Paul, both 32, have worked together since they were musical theater majors at the University of Michigan, bonding over their shared lack of dancing ability.

“We would hide behind each other in dance class,” he said. “Our sophomore year, we began to write our own show.”