Theatre ReviewsTom Williams

Miracle on 34th Street

A play from the novel by Valentine Daviesmiraclelogo

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.

MIRACLE ON 34th STREET--Santa and Susan

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.


Tom Williams

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.

2 thoughts on “Miracle on 34th Street

  • Joseph

    This is a great, family friendly show. The cast is wonderful and the leads, including little Laney Kraus-Taddeo (who really IS a pleasure to watch) do a great job of putting you in the holiday mood.

  • Grace

    I’m 13, and Laney is my best friend. She told me about this show, and I didn’t get to go, but I got to see her in “Sunday In The Park With George” and she did an amazing job. This sounded like a wonderful show and I was sad I missed it.

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