The terrific, always entertaining Spotlight Theatre in Moline has timed its new holiday production just perfectly.

On the heels of the new movie “A Christmas Story Christmas” (where the now 51-year-old Peter Billingsley is an adult Ralphie returning to his childhood home made famous in the 1983 “A Christmas Story”), an enthusiastic cast of kids and adults brings us the fun, nostalgic stage musical based on the original film.

Liam Knobloch, 13, of Moline, plays the 9-year-old Ralphie Parker in the new Spotlight “A Christmas Story: The Musical.”

Set the 1940s in the fictional town of Hohman, Indiana, the musical follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker and his quest for the Holy Grail of Christmas gifts—an Official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot Range Model air rifle.

Rebuffed at every turn with a similar echoing response, Ralphie plots numerous schemes to achieve his desperate desire for the coveted BB gun.

In Spotlight’s exuberant, affectionate new production, Ralphie is played by Liam Knobloch, Randy is Brighton Greim, Mother is Sara Tubbs, Old Man is Doug Alderman, and Narrator Jean is played by Kevin Maynard.

The stage version of the perennially popular 1983 film A Christmas Story, it has (not especially memorable) music and lyrics written by Pasek and Paul (“Dear Evan Hansen,” “La La Land,” “The Greatest Showman”) and a book by Joseph Robinette, opening on Broadway in 2012. It ran at Circa ’21 in Rock Island in 2013.

The Parker family is played by Sara Tubbs, left, Brighton Greim, Liam Knobloch and Doug Alderman.

It’s a true treat to see the return of Quad City Arts executive director Kevin Maynard to the stage, here as narrator Jean, the “Christmas Story” author Jean Shepherd (1921-1999). Like the film, the snarky (thankfully, not sappy) musical is set in December 1940 as a series of vignettes and countdown to Christmas, starting 24 days out – I fittingly saw it 22 days out.

Maynard clearly is having a lot of fun in the role, which provides witty and caustic commentary to the theatrical shenanigans, which is a far cry from his July role at Richmond Hill (after a 10-year stage hiatus) in the more profound and meaningful “Silent Sky.” But at Spotlight, he also gets to share a cast and crew list with his amazingly talented wife, Lily Blouin, who makes an impressive debut here as choreographer for “Christmas Story.”

Doug Alderman celebrates his “Major Award” in “A Christmas Story: The Musical.”

One of my favorite dance numbers is near the close of Act I, in the irresistible kick line of “A Major Award,” where Alderman has a blast with the female dancers, cleverly costumed in similar colors by Heather Blair. That award in the story, of course, is the iconic leg lamp, which Ralphie’s dad wins in a literature contest.

Other very enjoyable musical highlights include Alderman and Tubbs’ “Genius on Cleveland Street,” and the boisterous, rollicking “Ralphie to the Rescue.”

Kristen Marietta is a strong presence as the teacher Miss Shields, and is at times flashy and over-dramatic, compared to Sara Tubbs’ more down-to-earth, no-nonsense mother. Tubbs is always reliable and vocally radiant, and her “What a Mother Does” in the first act and “Just Like That” a in the second are well-deserved, comforting hymns to the glory and value of mom-hood.

Sara Tubbs shines as the mother in “A Christmas Story.”

“A Christmas Story” certainly is more a mirror of the materialistic (rather than holy) aspects of the big holiday — Ralphie worships a gun for god’s sake — but the show does touchingly reflect the demands and joys of parenthood and the giddy anticipation of kids of a certain age on Christmas Eve. Liam and Brighton do a great job as Ralphie and Randy, and director Chris Tracy and music director Katie Griswold bring a solid, family-friendly production to the stage.

The Spotlight performances (at 1800 7th Ave., Moline) will continue at 7 p.m. Dec. 9, and 10, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11. Tickets are $20 and can be ordered on the Spotlight website or by calling 309-912-7647.