Kingsway’s 2023 fall play, Miracle on 34th Street, had a great turnout this year.
The play, directed by Andrew Young and Lauren Barr, opened on Nov. 30. Miracle on 34th Street was performed in 2017 with great success, so its directors decided to bring it back this season.
Following its opening night, the play ran until Dec. 2. Prior to each production, kids of all ages could come early to see Santa Claus and tell him their Christmas wishes.
Miracle on 34th Street tells the story of a man who is questioned by those around him when he begins working for Macy’s as “Santa Claus” and claims that who he’s pretending to be is his real identity. Kingsway’s version of the story was adapted by Mountain Community Theater from the novel by Valentine Davies.
Auditions for the play were not only open to Kingsway’s drama students, but to anyone who wanted to be a part of the fall production.
Cast members include Omari Williams as Kris Kringle, Haley Dukich as Ms. Doris Walker, Matthew Alberta as Mr. Fred Gayley, Grace Palladinetti as Ms. Shellhammer, Michael Shultz as Dr. Pierce, James Legg as Mr. Sawyer, and many more. Crew members include Miranda Sterner, Danixi Brown, Logan Lyons, Lorraine Richardson, and more.
One of the best parts of the play itself was the wonderful set design. Set pieces were designed by Jeff Reim and Nicholas Fiocco, Kingsway’s photography teacher. Pieces like a large red sleigh and a detailed mall background all made the production come to life.
The Eitel Theater in which the play was performed was named after Jim and Marianne Eitel, who both taught in Kingsway’s drama department for over 30 years. The theater was dedicated on Jan. 12, 2006, and has been used for all of Kingsway’s productions since then.
Andrew Young, Kingsway’s Drama/Acting and Public Speaking/Debate teacher co-directed the play. Mr. Young, director of stage productions at Kingsway for 14 years, has years of experience writing and directing plays and considers this year’s performance a very successful one.
The play also featured an original song and dance number. Young recalled that he tasked the Assistant Director Ms. Lauren Barr and cast member James Legg with creating it.
They came up with a wonderful song and dance number that enhanced the play. “Watching them create it from an empty stage was terrifying, yet inspiring,” Mr. Young recalled.
Mr. Young hopes that cast and crew members can develop important life skills like “planning, showing up, [and] being accountable, responsible, and dependable. Caring about the people you collaborate with and your audience. Give them something that is of value.”
Similarly, he reflected on what he hopes audiences took away from the play. “The point of theater, or of any art form, is to witness what it is like to be human. One of goals of theater is to entertain. Yet another goal, my hope, is that audiences can recognize struggles they themselves go through and maybe realize that they are not always alone.”