NY Theatre Guide Review: ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ at John W. Engeman Theater

Theatre Review: ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ at John W. Engeman Theater

 Sophia Eleni Kekllas and Kim Carson. Photo by Michael DeCristofaro.

With the holidays fast approaching, the John W. Engeman Theater opened its seasonal production of Miracle on 34th Street last weekend.  With book, lyrics and music by Meredith Wilson, it is based on the classic 1947 movie of the same name with story and screenplay by Valentine Davies.  Directed here by Richard T. Dolce, Miracle on 34th Street is a heartwarming, holiday treat for the whole family.

When Doris Walker hires a kindly, white-bearded gentleman to play Santa Claus for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, she has no idea what is about to happen.  A cynical single mother, she has raised her daughter, Susan, to be nothing short of completely practical, with no fairy tales, or fanciful hopes and dreams allowed.  The man she hired, however, goes by the name Kris Kringle and claims to actually be the real Santa Claus, spreading his Christmas love and affecting the attitudes of people around him.  As Susan becomes friends with him, and their handsome neighbor Fred Gaily, Doris is forced to reevaluate her outlook on life, faith and love.

. . . a heartwarming, holiday treat for the whole family.

With pleasant voices, sharp comedic timing, and wonderful characterization this entire cast was a pleasure to watch perform.  Kim Carson and Aaron Ramey as Doris and Fred were immensely enjoyable together, and they created a believable atmosphere of romantic tension.  Kevin McGuire was a perfect Kris, from his beard to the twinkle in his eye and the merry spring in his step.  Meaghan Marie McInnes was an absolutely adorable and delightful Susan, and the entire cast of children gave fabulous performances.  Doris’ over-eager assistant Shellhammer, was amusingly played by Matt Wolfe, while R.H. Macy was represented with aplomb by Bill Nolte.  (The character of Susan is alternately portrayed by Sophia Eleni Kekllas.)

A clever set by designer Stephen Dobay greatly aided the plotline, as scenic “windows” were lifted and allowed different rooms to appear.  Costuming by Kathleen Doyle alluded to the past and gave the feel of a time gone by. Wonderful props by Kaye Blankenship and excellent music from conductor David Caldwell and the entire band rounded out the performance beautifully.  A definite must for your holiday schedule, this fun and charming production will certainly help put you in the Christmas spirit.

Running Time: Approximately 2 ½ hours including one 15-minute intermission.

Miracle on 34th Street is playing at The John W. Engeman Theater through January 3, 2016.  The theater is located at 250 Main Street, Northport NY.  For more information and tickets, click here.

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