Monday, December 17, 2012


The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, a New York City tradition since 1924, celebrates a day of recording your blessings as well as signaling the start of the countdown to Christmas.  What better way to mark the festive occasion than to attend the Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury's magical community production of "Miracle on 34th Street" by Meredith Willson, being offered for the whole family until Sunday, December 30.  It even begins with a gala parade!

When Doris Walker, a Macy's employee, played by a dedicated and capable Cassie Taylor, discovers her parade's and store's Santa Claus has been imbibing more than hot mulled cider and is unfit for his jolly red suit, she taps a conveniently nearby stranger, Kris Kringle, for the job.  With his full white beard and merry disposition, Kris, portrayed by a convincingly jovial and wise Tim Cleary, seems perfect.

With Kris's philosophy of spreading love, that people should be kind and helpful, he assumes his role as Santa with gusto and enthusiasm.  If Macy's doesn't have a toy a child wants, he has no problem sending mom and dad to the rival store Gimbel's to buy it.

Doris, a single mom with a precocious daughter Susan, has grown up believing in realism, not trusting anything she can't touch, see, taste or smell and she has raised Susan to follow her no-nonsense path.  The adorable Susan, a role shared by twins Kaitlyn and Kirstianna Mueller, who are celebrating their tenth birthdays, is introduced to Kris by a friendly neighbor she calls Uncle Fred, played by an accommodating Billy Hannon.  The twins are delightfully convincing as the young girl who want to believe in fantasy and fairy tales, even if her mother doesn't.

When the store's pseudo-psychologist Mr. Sawyer (Chuck Stango) judges Kris to be unstable, resulting in his being fired, Kris's defenders, including Uncle Fred an attorney, rally to his side.  Kris is put on trial and he is prosecuted by District Attorney Thomas Mara (Tom Chute and Joe Stofko) and Judge Harper (Chuck DellaRocco) has to make a final ruling:  is he really Santa Claus?  Semina DeLaurentis directs this energetic cast of two dozen, ranging in age from 7 to 65, who deliver a stirring holiday musical the whole family will enjoy. 

For tickets ($31-43, special rates for seniors, students and children), call Seven Angels Theatre, Plank Road, Hamilton Park Pavilion, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at  Performances are
Thursday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Learn a lesson of good will, that fairy tales can come true and that faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to do so.   The cast sings, "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," to get you in the proper mood.

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