What a treat it is to see Alfred Molina on stage as the feisty bearded guy with a twinkle in his eye, Kris Kringle, in this delightful radio play of Miracle on 34th Street. Molina’s performance, along with the rest of the stellar cast, is simply not to be missed.
Based on the classic film of the same name, Miracle on 34th Street follows the story of precocious six-year-old, Susan, who most certainly does not believe in Santa Claus. Her mother, Doris, has taught her to be practical and logical and that holiday magic is just a commercial gimmick. Doris works for Macy’s Department Store after all and has just fired a drunken “Santa”. Enter Kris Kringle, a man seemingly born to play Santa, who wins over everyone including the Supreme Court and even plays cupid along the way.
Performed as the Lux Radio Theater radio broadcast of 1947, this production, beautifully directed by Cameron Watson, imagines the Playhouse as a 1940’s studio, complete with vintage microphones, a piano, live commercials and a real foley artist and you are the live audience. Molina is clearly having a ball with this format and the cast has a genuine camaraderie that is infectious.
Molina’s Kringle is erudite, sweet and feisty! He’s simply a joy to watch. And he has so much to play off of as well from the terrific character actress, Beth Grant, who plays several different characters including one very dramatic drama teacher, to Larry Poindexter, stalwart and charming as Fred Gailey, and Susan’s mother, a perfectly cast Peri Gilpin as Doris Walker.
Everyone is fantastic including the darling Cecilia Witt as Susan Walker and a very special mention must be made of Jim Rash who creates a genius tapestry of characters culminating in one scene where he jumps between microphones playing two characters at once. Side-splitting.
The live pianist and foley artist are a blast to watch and the honey toned, jazz vocals of Yvette Cason adds yet another layer of time and place. If you close your eyes, you can easily imagine being gathered around a radio listening to the show. Just don’t keep them closed for long or you’ll miss the wonderful shenanigans happening on stage. It’s a heartwarming story and as a holiday family treat, it is perfection.
Upcoming Dates & Times
Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 / 2:00pm & 8:00pm
Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 / 8:00pm
Friday, Dec. 22, 2017 / 2:00pm & 8:00pm
Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017 / 2:00pm & 8:00pm
Miracle on 34th Street is now playing at Pasadena Playhouse, 39 El Molino Avenue in Pasadena. Tickets at PasadenaPlayhouse.org (626) 356-7529 or at the box office.