Local West Valley actor and Arizona Broadway Theatre (ABT) alum Tristan Klaphake (11) will be playing the lead role of Ralphie Parker in the upcoming National Tour of A Christmas Story touring the United States November 9 – December 31.
ABT audiences have come to know Tristan through his participation in the Theatre’s summer Academy for Young Performers camps as well as his many roles on ABT’s Mainstage. Roles and shows include Michael Darling (Peter Pan), Tiny Tim (A Christmas Carol), Flounder (Little Mermaid), Gavroche (Les Misérables), Ralphie (A Christmas Story) and most recently as the title role in Oliver.
Tristan is no stranger to the stage as his parents, Kiel & Cassandra Klaphake, are both performers and the co-founders of Arizona Broadway Theatre. The couple moved to the Valley of the Sun in late 2001 with the dream of starting a theatre in the Phoenix area. That dream became Arizona Broadway Theatre. Now, some 900-thousand patrons and 95 mainstage productions later, ABT has grown to become one of the highest attend LIVE theatre venues in the state.
Tristan’s first theatre “appearance” was at the opening night of the Theatre’s inaugural production of Anything Goes in 2005 when Kiel & Cass also announced they were due with their second child. Nine months later, they welcomed Tristan Jameson Klaphake as the newest member of not only their immediate family, but also the newest member of the growing ABT extended family.
Over the past 11 years, Tristan has grown-up (literally) in the theatre. As ABT has welcomed hundreds of local and nationally acclaimed artists, directors and choreographers as part of their annual eight show Mainstage line-up, Tristan has been to nearly every opening night. “I was kinda at opening nights even before I was born,” Tristan said, laughing in reference to his Mom (actually) having attended. “So, I feel like I’ve been seeing – or hearing – the shows for longer than I’ve been around.”
Mom and Dad agree, musicals have been a big part of Tristan’s life since day one – something they never encouraged directly, but have been overjoyed to see his love for the stage first-hand (and that he might even have a little talent, too). “You don’t want to assume your kids are going to follow in your footsteps – in fact – you might actually think it would be better if they didn’t,” Kiel said with a smile and laugh. “But watching Tristan grow and really take his roles and his time on stage this seriously has made both Cass and me so proud.”
Cassandra, who is ABT’s Artistic Producer and Casting Director, and who will be joining Tristan on tour, will be playing dual roles over the coming eight weeks. “This will be an all new experience for me as I’m usually on the ‘other side of the table’ if you will as a Casting Director,” said Cassandra. “I’m really looking forward to joining Tristan on this exciting journey, simply as his Mom. We’ll make lots of memories and have lots of stories to tell – I’m sure!”
The tour begins November 9 in Worchester, Massachusetts and closes December 31 in Austin, Texas. For more information about tour dates and show information visit www.achristmasstoryontour.com.