Adapted by Patricia DiBenedetto Snyder,
Will Severin and John Vreeke
Holiday Music Opening by Jon Steinhagen
Directed Christopher Pazdernik
Music Direction by Eugen Dizon
Choreography by James Beaudry
Produced by Porchlight Music Theatre
At Stage 773, Chicago
Worthy remount is a winning Christmas show.
Becoming a yearly tradition for Porchlight Musical Theatre, Miracle on 34th Street is an 85 minute holiday classic It is a refreshingly sweet, family friendly, cute holiday treat. Christopher Pazdernik, with help from Jon Steinhagen and Eugene Dizon, has condensed Valentine Davies’ fable about a Macy’s Santa who truly believes he is the real Santa Claus. This year’s show is almost a carbon copy of last years show and that’s not a bad thing. Indeed, the film comes to life on Stage 773.
Just like last year: From the opening parade that features excellent video projections (by Liviu Pasare) and live participators reenacting the famous NYC Mary’s Thanksgiving Parade, we hear a large sampling of Christmas songs that continues during the scene changes. This adds the holiday spirit to the show. Jim Sherman, as Kris Kringle, is quite wonderful playing Santa as a sincere, down-to-earth honest man determined to make the joy of Christmas a real year round attitude. Sherman’s Santa is believable due to Sherman’s truthful, confident performance. Sherman is a wonderful Santa.
When Doris Walker (Christa Buck) and her cynical daughter Susan (Nicole Karkazis) doubt that Kringle is actually Santa–Kringle becomes determined to win them both over. He gets help from Fred Gailey (David Heimann). Santa spreads a wave of love, cheer and goodwill that becomes contagious throughout New York City. Faith, imagination with a small miracle makes this sweet show a holiday joy fit for the entire family. This fast paced show with a strong cast all of which double as apt singers during scene changes casts a spell of holiday joy.
This is a fine, family-friendly holiday treat. Like I said last year: take the kids and just use your imagination to enjoy this sweet holiday candy. The staging is innovative as it infuses Christmas standards designed to enhance out holiday mood. Hey, the kids can meet and be photographed with Santa after each performance. So come and tell Santa what you want for Christmas. Add this show to your short list.
At Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago, IL, call 773-327-5252, tickets $38 – $40 with student/senior discounts, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 2:30 & 8 pm, Sundays at 2:30 pm, running time is 85 minutes without intermission.