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'Miracle' will make a believer out of you


December 11, 2014

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    “Faith is believing in something even though your common sense tells you not to.”

    The Averitt Center for the Arts, along with director Helen Rosengart, presents a classic Christmas story with a musical twist. Miracle on 34th Street runs this weekend, with shows from December 11 through December 13 at 7:30 and a Sunday show on December 14 at 2:00. Tickets are $15 for nonmembers, $13 for members of the Averitt Center, and $10 for children under 12 and college students.

    Ms. Rosengart explained that the storyline is true to the movie of the same name. What sets the production apart from other adaptations is the use of song and dance to further the narrative. This is Rosengart's fifth musical production. Her cast members make it known that her experience in the musical side of the arts makes her contribution invaluable, while she counters that her cast members make it easy with their immense talent.

    Emily Wiggins plays the classic role of Susan Walker, and at age 11, she rocks it. She started with the Averitt Center about three years ago with a small speaking part and has moved her way up to main character in Miracle on 34th Street. Her confidence on stage and the incredible talent she possesses puts her nearly equal to any adult actor.

    Dr. Joe Morgan’s kindly innocence makes him the perfect Santa for the show. His performance amped up my Christmas spirit and renewed my faith in the imaginative side of the holiday. A scene where he speaks Dutch to an orphan girl had me in chills. Also, it’s worth your ticket price just to see Santa in Rudolph slippers for a small scene.

    Since this is a Christmas production centered around Santa, there are plenty of children throughout. There are 16 kids, other than Emily, who range in age from about 7 to 12, as well as many adult actors, all singing along and having fun with the piece. Although the music lightens the production, main themes of love and faith are central to the show and the children are getting to experience these ideas firsthand with their roles in the show.

    In addition to the many cast members on stage, this production features a live orchestra making all sound effects and playing the music for each song. The rapid and frequent scene changes keep the backstage crew fairly busy, but each change enhances the story that much more.

    The show is a great take on a classic story and shows the talent we have right here in the ‘Boro.


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