Review by Mary Kate Groh of “Miracle on 34th Street”: Covedale
Covedale’s “Miracle on 34th Street” is the perfect way to get you and your entire family in the Christmas spirit. Amid the stress of holiday shopping, final exams, Christmas parties, and trying to spend as much time with family as possible, “Miracle on 34th Street” is the answer. Written by the popular playwright, Meredith Wilson, “Miracle on 34th Street” is the heartwarming Christmas tale of whether or not there is truly a Santa Claus.
The musical opens with the Macy’s Day Parade on Thanksgiving where a frantic Doris Walker (Kelsey Chandler) tries to find a replacement Santa Claus after the one she hired was too intoxicated to even walk. She meets Kris Kringle (Jamie Steele) who happily agrees to become Santa Claus. Kris Kringle doesn’t just play the part of Santa Claus, in fact, he is Santa Claus. However, Doris Walker doesn’t want the nonsense of Santa Claus and other fairy tales to fill her daughter’s head with romantic notions.
The entire performance was spectacular — from the costumes to the sets, to the singing and dancing, everyone did an outstanding job; hats off to director Tim Perrino for putting together a wonderful holiday classic for the whole family. Scenic designer Brett Bowling did a fantastic job of creating a set design that was easy to transform the stage from outside of Macy’s to the inside of a courtroom. The choreography by Karie Lee Sutherland was outstanding and made me want to jump on stage and join the actors in the Toy Ballet. The Toy Ballet was one of the most memorable scenes in the musical — from the strong choreography to the dreamlike lighting by Denny Reed.
Each actor and actress did a phenomenal job with their roles. Kelsey Chandler and Nora Darnell (Susan Walker) had the perfect mother-daughter chemistry for their touching duet “Arm in Arm.” Elliot Handkins (Fred Gaily) portrayed the perfect father-figure to Nora Darnell for their heartwarming duet “My Wish.” Jamie Steele steals patrons’ hearts as the beloved Kris Kringle. I even heard one patron next to me whisper, “Wow, he really does look like Santa Claus.” Jamie Steele’s performance as Kris Kringle really made me stop and remind myself of the true meaning of Christmas — not the commercialism of holiday shopping, but rather, love.
“Miracle on 34th Street” runs through December 29 at the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are available by calling the box office at 513-241-6550, or by clicking here.