Remember the 1947 movie, “Miracle on 34th Street,” loved by children and adults and re-worked numerous times over the years for additional films and TV? LeGacy Productions’ revival of “Miracle” (they last produced it in 2009) brings to the stage that charming holiday story, perfect for the whole family to enjoy together.
The play, based on the novel by Valentine Davies, humorously and with warmth asks and answers the question, “Is there a Santa Claus?” Kris Kringle, who asserts that he is Santa Claus, complains that the Christmas spirit has been lost. In his role as the Macy’s Department Store Santa Claus, he finds that he is able to reintroduce that spirit, both to the general public and to those closest to him. However, the doubters think he is crazy and try to institutionalize him, at which point he is given a sanity hearing to determine once and for all whether Santa Claus exists. Along the way, he grants the wishes of many children and adults, making people very happy. What better good-mood-inducing event can you take your kids or grandkids to, rather than another shoot- ’em-up or vampire movie?
An agreeable aspect of this play is that the cast includes a number of youngsters, some dancing, singing and seemingly having a lot of fun. The role of young Susan is shared by Amber Busse and Lucy Gardiner. The night I saw the play, Busse charmingly played Susan, who didn’t believe in fairy tales or Santa Claus but develops an affection for Kris Kringle, the Macy’s Santa Claus. Jed Dixon was pitch perfect as Kris Kringle, even to the twinkle in his eye, the joviality in his step and the perfect white beard. The remainder of the troupe generally did a good job with noteworthy turns by Danny McCammon as lawyer Fred Gailey, who helps prove Santa’s existence, and JR Lewis as the prosecutor who tries to show that Kris is insane. Kate Haight is Doris, the mother of Susan, the love interest of Fred, the practical manager who hires Kris to be the holiday Santa at Macy’s and is initially a Santa non-believer.
The set, designed by Sue LeGate, Alvis LeGate and Judy Blake and well dressed by Katherine Scourtes and Marsha Faye Kelly, is attractive. That set design works admirably, as it is efficiently changed during the numerous (a few too many) scene changes. Director Judy Blake (who acted in the 2009 production) creates a cohesive ensemble from actors with disparate levels of acting experience.
These days, there aren’t many shows that adults and kids can agree upon and all enjoy. This is one of those few. For a holiday treat that is both pleasing and puts forth a cheerful message, take your family to see “Miracle on 34th Street” at the Nevada Theater in Nevada City, playing through Dec. 30. Ticket information can be found at www.LeGacyPresents.com.
Hindi Greenberg never believed in Santa Claus but does like the message of this play, that people should do good deeds, look out for each other and encourage each other’s successes. She believes that these are the true messages of the holidays, to be continued all year.