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Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical
a Musical Comedy
by Meredith Willson

ID# 4997

SHOWING : November 25, 2016 - December 18, 2016



Kris Kringle takes on the doubters in this musical adaptation of the beloved holiday classic from the writer of the musical theater classic "The Music Man," Meredith Willson.

Single mother, Doris Walker, doesn’t want her six-year old daughter Susan’s head filled with romantic notions. Their neighbor Fred Gailey tries to woo Doris by charming Susan and taking her to see Santa Claus at Macy’s, where Doris works. Doris is not impressed - but when it turns out Macy’s Santa may in fact be the real Kris Kringle, a wave of love spreads across New York City that melts even the most cynical hearts. Filled with humor, spectacle, and such beloved songs as “Pinecones and Hollyberries,” “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” and “My State, My Kansas,” this joyous, heart-warming musical is pure family entertainment.

Director Lisa Matchen
Set Design/Construction Bob Cookson
Set Design/Construction Chris Cookson
Sound/Light Design Murray Mann
Music Director, Choreographer Marshall Lee Smith
Majorette, Clerk, Girl Scout Britton Baldy
Tammany, Clerk, Parade Clown Robert Baldy
Shellhammer Marcus Brooks
Balloon Vendor, Clara, Clerk Hailey Carroll
Bailiff Hugh Chapman
Fred Gailey Adam Roderick Darby
Judge Group, Gimbel Michael Glatzer
Mother, Hendrika’s Mother, Shopper Meagan Graham
Kris Kringle Jim Gray
Paradegoer, Hendrika, Trial Spectator Elizabeth Guy
Miss Muffett, Judge, Gimbel Paul Komorner
Climber, Clerk, Policeman, Father, Mailm Jeffrey Liu
Parade Clown, Shopper, Photographer, Mis Barbara McFann
Doris Walker Caryle McLaughlin
Alvin, Clerk, MailMan, Group 4 Father Evan Penn
Child, Harry Finfer August Pomerance
Father, Mailman, Policeman Ari Pomerance
Parade clown, Trial spectator, Shopper Bianka Reid
Susan Walker Emily Sloboda
Mr. Macy, Father Marshall Lee Smith
Child, Alice Mara Jr. Janiya Tucker
Newspaperman, Clerk, Parent, Miss Crooks Lauren Rachel Wall
Sawyer, Mailman, Governor, Parade Clown Evan Weisman
Mother, Mrs. Finfer Tristan Williams
Mother, D.A. Alice Mara, Shopper Alyssa Wright
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Not All Life Is Miracles
by playgoer
Monday, December 5, 2016
Meredith Willson’s score for "Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical" is often angular and rangy. Unfortunately, none of the leads of the show at ACT1 Theater have voices that are up to the task of navigating the score successfully, at least not when performing the energetic choreography Marshall Lee Smith, Jr. has devised for several of the numbers. Carlye McLaughlin, as Doris Walker, has a nice voice; it’s just not particularly suited to most of her numbers. The other leads have more significant problems in terms of pitch and vocal quality, although they seem to be striving for their best. Their acting is fine, if not nuanced, but it can’t make up for the deficiencies they display in song.

Some members of the ensemble come across better. In terms of vocal solos, Marshall Lee Smith, Jr. impresses as R.H. Macy in the second act. (He’s also the choreographer and music director.) Alyssa Wright, Lauren Wall, and Hailey Carroll triumph in their small roles, exhibiting stage presence in greater proportion than their stage time. Robert Baldy, appearing in his first musical, has wonderful projection and does a creditable job, and with a little seasoning could become quite a performer. Evan Weisman does very nice work both as sour Sawyer and as the publicity-hungry governor, although not enough is done to distinguish him physically for two dissimilar roles appearing within short order of one another.

The lack of dissimilarity is certainly not due to a limited costume budget. Costumes, managed by Suzanne Thornett, Anne Voller, Lynne Whitener, and Virginia Mann, impress with their range and variety. The set, managed by Bob Cookson, has some variety too, with a number of different backdrops used. The only scene that seems glaringly misplaced (at least on opening night) is a scene in Doris Walker’s home where the snowy street background is strongly lit behind it.

Murray Mann’s sound management and the band (Ian Allison, Robyn Guy, Kelly Lane, Jeff Pullen, and Taylor Rowley) make the non-singing music in the show sound great. Mr. Mann’s lighting scheme isn’t quite so successful, with a dream sequence and the show’s ending falling flat. Much of the blame for that, though, belongs to director LisaKay Matchen, who hasn’t directed those scenes to make their significance immediately evident to the audience. Lighting effects on their own can’t carry a scene. Ms. Matchen and her technical team and cast have, however, done a terrific job portraying four Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon handlers traversing the width of the stage.

ACT1 Theater is presenting a passable version of "Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical" in terms of technical elements, blocking, and overall flow. If only the musical numbers consistently sounded good, this would be slightly more than passable. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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