This play with music breathes new life into the 1947 film classic about a Macy’s Department Store Santa Claus who convinces everyone to believe in miracles. Ascribing to the adage, “if it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it,” this year’s revival offers last year’s charm, but with a few new touches. The end result is a sweetly old-fashioned holiday story that the whole family will enjoy.
Director Christopher Pazdernik’s very competent cast includes several of last year’s favorite actors. Christa Buck is once again Doris Walker, the no-nonsense, disillusioned single mother and Macy’s executive who hires the store’s Santa Claus each year. This time around, Ms. Buck offers a more grounded and mature portrayal of the Donna Reed-like mother who learns to dream. Once again, Jim Sherman’s Kris Kringle is full of warmth and sensitivity. Sherman’s best scene employs his improvisation skills while responding to several children’s Christmas wishes, both from the cast and the audience.
This year Susan Walker is played with understanding and empathy by newcomer Nicole Karkazis. This role that made a young Natalie Wood famous is bound to do the same for this actress, whose 9-year-old-going-on-30 is a carbon copy of her mother, until Mr. Kringle inspires her to use her imagination. David Heimann as romantic lead Fred Gailey, Mick Weber as Mr. Macy and Michael Pacas as Mr. Sawyer bring humor and stature to this production.
Supported by Ian Zywica’s slick, stylish set and enhanced by Liviu Pasare’s beautiful, animated projections and Jana Anderson’s stylish period costumes, Pazdernik’s streamlined production should ignite the holiday spirit while inspiring audiences of all ages to “believe, even when common sense tells you not to!”