A play from the novel by Valentine Davies
Adapted by Patricia DiBenedetto Snyder, Will Severin and John Vreeke
Holiday Music Opening by Jon Steinhagen
Directed by L. Walter Stearns
Music Direction by Eugen Dizon
Choreography by Annie Hackett
Produced by Porchlight Music Theatre
At The Theatre Building Chicago
New production of classic holiday film wonderfully staged
The 85 minute holiday classic–Miracle on 34th Street, now at the Theatre Building Chicago staged by Porchlight Music Theatre is a refreshingly sweet, family friendly, cute holiday treat. Walter Stearns, with help from Jon Steinhagen and Eugene Dizon, have condensed Valentine Davies’ fable about a Macy’s Santa who truly believes he is the real Santa Claus.
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.
When Doris Walker (Christa Buck) and her cynical daughter Susan (Laney Kraus-Taddeo) doubt that Kringle is actually Santa–Kringle becomes determined to win them both over. He gets help from Fred Gailey (Karl Hamilton). 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. Stearns’ fast paced show with a strong cast all of which double as apt singers during scene changes casts a spell of holiday joy.
I can’t think of a finer kid-friendly and adult proof new holiday show than this charming show. Take the kids and just use your imagination to enjoy this fluffy 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.
At the Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago, IL, call 773-327-5252, tickets $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.