ALTHOUGH I’VE TRAVELED TO NEW YORK, albeit only once and in the late 1970s, I’ve never been to Macy’s.
I’ve watched the Macy’s Day parade, though, on television and this year heard a brief first person account from my 19-year-old son. He attends college in the Boston area and spent his Thanksgiving break in the Big Apple.
Saturday evening, thanks to the Paradise Community Theatre’s production of Miracle on 34th Street, The Musical, I visited the aforementioned New York department store and watched (imaginatively speaking) a portion of the parade.
Plus I was swept into the holiday spirit by songs such as “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” and by the acting of 31 gifted performers. The cast includes a lot of dedicated young actors and actresses who bring abundant energy and talent to the stage.
With the exception of a cold theater (due to furnace problems), a not-so-good seat (I waited too long to reserve my ticket), and occasional difficulty hearing the singers above the orchestra, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance.
This classic Christmas story, which was unfamiliar to me (I know, I know), thrusts you right into the magic of the holiday season. Do you believe in Santa Claus? Do you believe in love? You will after viewing this splendid performance of Miracle on 34th Street in which Kris Kringle claims that he truly is Santa Claus. Northfield resident Jerry Fox portrays as convincing of a Santa Claus as you’ll ever see, both in appearance and demeanor.
And adorable 10-year-old Malia Hunt of Faribault exudes absolute confidence in her main character role as Susan Walker, the little girl who wants a father for Christmas, along with a farmhouse, a swing in the backyard and a cow.
My favorite line in the entire show comes from Jackson Hemann of Medford, who plays Thomas Mara, Jr., the young son of a New York district attorney determined to prove Kris Kringle is not Santa.
When Kringle’s attorney, Fred Gaily (Mickey Morstad), asks Thomas why he believes in Santa, the young boy replies: “My mommy told me so.”
Ah, to possess such child-like faith.
“Faith,” Kris Kringle declares during the performance, “is believing in something when your common sense tells you not to.”
When the show ended at 10 p.m., children clustered around Fox. Don’t try telling them he isn’t really Santa Claus.
They believe in the magic of Santa Claus, just like I believe in the magic of theatre to transport me from Central Avenue in Faribault, Minnesota, to 34th Street in New York City.
FYI: Additional performances of Miracle on 34th Street are set for 7:30 p.m. this Thursday – Saturday, December 12 – 14, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 15, at the Paradise Center for the Arts, 321 Central Avenue in historic downtown Faribault. Click here for more information. As of early Tuesday afternoon, only limited seating remained for the Friday and Saturday shows with the Sunday afternoon performance nearly sold out.
My husband and I attended Miracle on 34th Street compliments of an event hosted by South Rice County Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. This did not influence my decision to review the performance nor the content of my review.
© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Photo of Jerry Fox and Malia Hunt by Betsy Cole Photography and courtesy of the Paradise Center for the Arts.