- “Miracle on 34th Street” originated in a black and white
film in 1947. It has survived the ravages of time and is still
a Christmas favorite.
original version starred John Payne, Maureen O’Hara and
Edmund Gwynn. The present one at the Sunset Playhouse stars
Allison Chicorel, Jared Kuehn (an Aaron Rodgers look-alike)
and Gary Rohn, and though not perfect, is quite a worthy
as in the recent play “Harvey,” this story questions who
or what is normal. Are delusions a sign of mental illness, or
are they the result of imagination and possibility and faith,
fantasies that stretch the bounds and limitations of reality?
review the story, a man claims to be Kris Kringle, the true
Santa Claus. He carries the true message of Christmas, but is
hired by Macy’s to push their overstock of toys, to make a
commercial venture successful. At some point, despite his
popularity with the public, he is committed to a mental
institution. A lawyer, who believes in him and his mission,
defends his right to assert his true identity, despite those
who disagree with his claim.
actors take hold of their roles here, including the three main
leads. Chicorel as Doris Walker was wonderful, as was her
little daughter, Grace Fischer. Her persistent wooer, Kuehn as
Fred, was earnest and irresistible to us immediately, and to
underplayed his role as the controversial Kris Kringle, but
his confident “presence” was convincing. Kristin Johnson
as Shelhammer and her boss Macy, played by Tarolyn Fulkerson,
both exuded a business-like aura.
in-house psychologist Sawyer was memorably rendered by Andrew
Kelly. He provided the most comic relief. John Galobich as
Doctor Pierce was a little shaky on his lines.
was a clever idea to use young carolers during the scene
changes, but they needed more musical direction and sometimes
sang more verses than they needed to. This story requires many
changes of venues, which can be a problem in a stage play. The
less time lost, the easier it is to maintain the flow of the
story. The set by Rebecca Beaudoin was aesthetically pleasing
and quite versatile, but impeded the action somewhat.
Zadra, Linda M. Schuster and Bonnie Rahn all were effective in
their cameo roles as Judge Harper, Hake and Holloran,
respectively, as was the woman who worked at the zoo, who I
suspect was Vicky Heckman.
by Dustin J. Martin, seeing “Miracle on 34th Street” was a
pleasure to encounter again. Renew your childlike wonder and
faith by attending this show.
on 34th Street” runs selected dates through Dec. 31 at the
Sunset Playhouse, 800 Elm Grove Road, Elm Grove. For show
times and tickets, call 262-782-4430 or visit www.sunsetplayhouse.com.