The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season is about to get under way and, as always, the John W. Engeman Theatre excellently delivers a fabulous holiday production. This years’ offering, running through January 4th, is the musical Miracle On 34th Street by Meredith Willson based on the classic movie.
The story centers on single mother Doris Walker who doesn’t want Susan, her young daughter, exposed to “fairy tales” like the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and, most importantly, Santa.
Indeed, the large Richard T. Dolce directed cast is absolutely stellar.
Engeman favorite Kim Carson splendidly portrays Doris, an executive at Macy’s department store. After her Santa for the parade gets overly intoxicated, she unexpectedly meets Kris Kringle and immediately hires him as her new Santa. Ms. Carson’s confident performance is received well particularly her rendition of “You Don’t Know”. Incidentally, Kevin McGuire(Broadway: Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, et. al.) is a remarkable Kris Kringle. A gentle voice and the whole “Santa aura” make him a natural for the role.At the same time, their – also single – neighbor, former Marine Fred Gailey, portrayed by Aaron Ramey, attempts to court Doris by charming Susan branding himself as a father figure. Susan is enjoying this, but Doris is not amused.
And of course the children in the cast are wonderful and excited to be on stage. They have two casts and the role of Susan is divided up between two adorable young ladies; Sophia Eleni Kekllas and Meaghan Marie McInnes.
Another highlight is the innovative set designed by Stephen Dobay. There are many scene changes in the two act show. Inside the “Macy’s windows” there are also three small sets that move out when needed. This is enhanced beautifully by Jimmy Lawlor‘s lighting and Kathleen Doyle‘s costumes. In the score, you will also notice subtle tones here and there of Mr. Willson’s arguably most famous work The Music Man. “She Hadda Go Back” sounds delightfully similar to “Trouble”.
And so, Miracle On 34th Street is certainly another hit for the Engeman. A wonderful cast and a classic story make for a thrilling night of theatre this holiday season.
Miracle On 34th Street is presented by the John W. Engeman Theatre of Northport, Long Island, through January 4th.
By Meredith Willson, Directed by RICHARD T. DOLCE, Choreography by ANTOINETTE DIPIETROPOLO, Musical Direction by DAVID CALDWELL, Scenic Design by STEPHEN DOBAY, Costume Design by KATHLEEN DOYLE, Lighting Design by JIMMY LAWLOR, Sound Design by LAURA SHUBERT, Props Design by KAYE BLANKENSHIP, Casting by FRANCK CASTING, Stage Management by RENEE SANTOS STEWART
Starring KIM CARSON, AARON RAMEY, KEVIN MCGUIRE, MATT WOLPE, BILL NOLTE, TODD THURSTON, JOHN LITTLE, NICK ADDEO, PIM VAN AMERONGEN, SAM ARLEN, MARK T. CAHILL, DARIA DEGAETANO, COURTNEY FEKETE, SOPHIA ELENI KEKLLAS, SUZANNE MASON, MARYELLEN MOLFELLA, MEAGHAN MARIE MCINNES, LAURA OTREMBA, MICHAEL SANTORA, SUMMERISA BELL STEVENS, AMBER CORRIGAN, MIRANDA JO DEMOTT, KATIE DOLCE, SOPHIA GUARNASCHELLI, ERIN HAGGERTY, KATHERINE LAFOUNTAINE, CLAIRE LEVASSEUR, MEAGHAN MAHER, SHANE MCGLONE, CHRISTOPHER MCKENNA, MICHAEL MENESHIAN, CHRISTOPHER PAPPAS, AIDAN PASSARO, MEGAN TRAGESAR, THERON VILJOEN and CHLOE WHEELER.
Photos by Michael DeCristofaro; Photo #1) SOPHIA ELENI KEKLLAS and KIM CARSON; Photo #2) KEVIN MCGUIRE