Miracle on 34th Street at the Wilmington Drama League
There is something magical about seeing a play about Santa Claus while it's snowing outside. I braved the elements this weekend to see Miracle on 34th Street The Musical at the Wilmington Drama League, and while there were some last minute changes because of complications brought about by the weather, the Wilmington Drama League still put on a very enjoyable show.
If you are unfamiliar with the story of The Miracle on 34th Street, it takes place between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve at Macy's Department Store in NYC in the 1940s. Jack Jordan plays Kris Kringle, who finds himself as the Santa in the toy department at Macy's. Jack Jordan's Kris is a delightful spirit. While he sometimes gets down about people not having faith in Santa anymore, he is exactly what you would imagine Santa is like in real life.
Aside from Jack Jordan, the two actors who really stand out in this show are Catherine Enslen, who plays Susan Walker, and Tim Sheridan, who plays Marvin Shellhammer—the junior executive at Macy's who is always trying to come up with the latest way to sell toys. Catherine is an absolute delight as Susy, and whenever she's onstage, you can't help but fall in love with her. She has a power house voice for such a young girl, too! Tim Sheridan steals all of the jokes in this show. It would be very easy for this character to come off as corny, but Tim is very endearing as Marvin Shellhammer.
The Wilmington Drama League chose to use the musical version of Miracle on 34th Street. With the exception of one song, "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" which is sung with "Pinecones and Holly Berries," none of the songs are very familiar. Meredith Wilson, who also wrote Music Man, wrote the book, music, and lyrics for this show as well. While some of the charm of the original story of Miracle on 34th Street is lost in translation, the actors in the Wilmington Drama League's production do their best with the material that they have. Some of the numbers, such as "Pinecones and Holly Berries," "Plastic Alligators," "Bugles," and "That Man Over There" really come to life.
The Wilmington Drama League's production of Miracle on 34th Street The Musical is one worth seeing, especially if you have kids. The story that it tells of a young girl who has been told her entire life that there are no such things as fairytales, princes, and Santas finding the magic of Christmas is one that never gets old.
This show ran on Broadway for 334 performances in 1963-1964. Then it was called "Here's Love" and drew tepid "reviews" (at best). Howard Taubman of the New York Times said it was, "right off the assembly line, shrewdly engineered, the model of an efficient musical...rarely rises above efficiency." In fairness, rights holders keep having the book rewritten with no sign of improvement.
"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" is a standard Christmas song Meredith Willson had written 12 years earlier. The title of the show has been changed to capitalize on the movie - or the song.
This unsigned review is a clear puff piece, possibly in consideration for the producers buying radio ads for the play.
Save your money. Stay home. Watch the original movie. None of the musical attempts or the movie remake have ever come close.
Wed, Dec 18, 2013 10:49am
I had to riff off the name...
Wilmington could use a miracle on"Numbers Under 30th Street".
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