When A Christmas Story goes live Sunday, Jane Krakowski will be taking on a role she loved in the movie as a kid.
“I play Miss Shields, who is Ralphie’s teacher, and I love the actress who played her in the original movie,” Krakowski tells PEOPLE of Tedde Moore. “I loved how much she was utilized in Ralphie’s fantasy life — it was one of my favorite parts of the movie — and they have expanded that a bit in the musical telling.”
The live version of the 1983 holiday classic will also expand on its signature line — “You’ll shoot your eye out!” — with a tap number.
“I have been nervously excited because I do a very large tap number, and I haven’t tapped since I was about 12 years old,” the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star, 49, says. “There’s not much call for tap dancing these days, but because this musical is based in the ’40s, we have celebrated the old-fashioned joy of tap from back in the day. When we first talked about it he [director Scott Ellis] said to me, ‘It’s definitely a dance number, but I don’t think it necessarily has to all be tap.’ And now that it’s we’re in it, I don’t think there’s one move that isn’t tap. But I love it and it is highly aerobic.”
“I thought it would be a lot like putting on a Broadway musical, but when I got there, it was nothing like that,” she admits. “It is its own entity entirely because there is as much choreography off camera as there is on camera, like how we get to the next location on a golf cart in the back lot of Warner Bros. I have one super quick change, which will be sort of the behind-the-scenes nervous moment for me. No one wants a wardrobe malfunction if we didn’t get it all on properly!”
No matter what, Krakowki and her castmates received the approval of Peter Billingsley, a.k.a. the original Ralphie. “He came and sort of passed the baton,” she explains of Billingsley’s set visit during a rehearsal. “The adults were getting as many selfies as the kids!”
In addition to brining the tale to a new generation of children, the Golden Globe nominee got to introduce A Christmas Story to her own son, 6-year-old Bennett.
“I thought my son was old enough to see all of the movie classics that I grew up with, like A Christmas Story and Home Alone, so we had sort of a Christmas movie festival,” Krakowski says. “So just last year I was reintroduced to it through the eyes of my son, which was a great joy.”
Once the finally curtain is drawn on the Fox production, Krakowski looks forward to diving into Christmas with her son. “I can’t wait to get home and start wrapping all the gifts, participating in all the traditions that my son and I do together,” the New York City resident says. “The elf on the shelf visits our house — we do that all month long — and we go all out just hanging up the stockings and decorations.”
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As for their plans for Dec. 25, “We’ll be having, we have Christmas Day here at my apartment,” she says, warning, “so far the Christmas dinner hasn’t worked out so well.”
The 30 Rock alum explains, “Last year my oven was off by about 300 degrees. And I was unaware because I don’t use my oven very often. After like 17 hours of cooking a turkey, it still wasn’t cooked. We ultimately gave up and ordered a pizza. We had pizza and stuffing.”
But this time around, Krakowski is prepared.
“I’ve had my oven checked, so I know it works this year,” she says. “We’re gonna give the turkey another go. We sort of can’t have Christmas without turkey.”
A Christmas Story Live!, also starring Matthew Broderick, Ana Gasteyer and Maya Rudolph, airs Sunday on Fox at 7 pm. ET.