Old St. Nick takes on skeptics in the theatrical adaptation of the holiday classic, “Miracle on 34th Street,” opening Friday at the Aloha Theatre in Kainaliu. Based on the 1947 film and novel by Valentine Davis, this heartwarming story wins over the curmudgeonliest of scrooges.
“This production is closer to the 1947 film than the 1994 version of the film, except it is set in present day,” said Tiffany Kutsunai, the show’s producer. “It has the same characters as the original movie, but we have modern day costumes and props. We also added some Christmas carols in between each scene, which adds a lot of fun.”
The story begins when an elderly gentleman by the name of Kris Kringle fills in for a drunken Santa at the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He’s such a hit with the crowd that he starts making appearances at the chain’s midtown store in Manhattan. The story unfolds as New Yorkers embrace the Macy’s Santa Claus and even the most cynical of hearts begin to melt.
“Santa is played by Peter Schonberg, who is one of our board members,” said Kutsunai. “This is actually his first straight play. He normally does musicals. This was a big change for him and he’s doing a wonderful job. He fits the character so well. He’s very caring and gentle, so this part is perfect for him.”
As Santa expresses compassion, kindness and generosity to his fellow New Yorkers, it inspires them to remember the reason for the season. In doing so, their lives begin to change for the better. Once such city dweller is Doris Walker played by Melissa Geiger. A single mother, Doris is raising her daughter, Susan, (Lotus Buss) to be realistic and not believe in Santa Claus. Doris is in for a surprise when an admiring neighbor (Victor Lugo) takes Susan to visit Santa Claus at Macy’s and the magic begins to happen.
Filled with humor and love, Miracle on 34th Street is pure family entertainment. It’s wholesome and heartwarming without being overly sappy.
“It’s definitely family friendly,” said Kutsunai. “There’s a lot of love that went into it the production. The basis of the show is faith, and believing in something even though common sense tells you not to. That’s the underlying theme. Susan doesn’t believe in Santa Claus and Doris doesn’t believe in love. In the end, everyone gets their happy ending.”
The ensemble includes Anna Payesko, Allison Gerow, Ariel Cohen, Eve Sorce-Wright, Kyleeann Hamar, Miles Prado, Minami Asbjornson, Oles Witczak, Peyton Winkel, Rihanna Goodspeed, Taylor Bear, Ziven Witczak, Yasir Bey, Cindy Cohen, Robb Dahlke, Luonne Gerow, Payton Howitt, Britney Jeffries, Ka’umea Lind-Strauss, Rob Payesko, Ella Prado, Tait Witczak, Gavin Logan, Tom and Felicity Johnson, and Holly, Maximus, and Violet Wisniewski.
Find the magic of the season with APAC’s Miracle on 34th Street Friday through Dec. 17. Shows are Friday and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $22/$20/$10.
Info: Visit www.apachawaii.org.