Miracle on 34th Street comes to Whitefish

Whitefish Theatre Company stages family classic Dec. 7-17 at the O'Shaughnessy Center

On Stage
Miracle on 34th Street
Holiday show focuses on the true meaning of the season.

Whitefish Theatre Company welcomes the holiday season with the family classic Miracle on 34th Street, Dec. 7-17 at the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish. This beloved play opens with a sneak preview night, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, and continues at 7:30 p.m. Fridays, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, and 4 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 8-17.

Based on the cherished 1947 film, “Miracle on 34th Street” is the perfect feel-good holiday show for the whole family. The holiday season is in full swing when a gentleman with twinkling eyes, an ample belly, and a snowy beard is hired as a Macy’s department store Santa. He claims his name is Kris Kringle and he soon fills everyone with Christmas spirit, except his boss, Doris Walker, who is raising her daughter Susan to be a realistic, pragmatic girl who is certainly too sensible to believe in Santa Claus.

But when Kringle is declared insane and put on trial, everyone’s faith is put to the test as young and old alike face the age-old question: Do you believe in Santa? Broadway World calls the warm magic of “Miracle on 34th Street” a “perfect mix of bubbly fun and festiveness to spark the holiday spirit.”

In presenting Miracle on 34th Street, director Valeri McGarvey focuses on the true meaning of the holiday season. “It has been refreshing to leave behind the current news headlines and go back in time to 1947 to live in the simple story of ‘believe’,” says McGarvey. “The classic story of Susan’s – and her mother’s! – growing belief in Santa Claus is touching and heartwarming and really reminds us of what is important: loving each other, leaving behind the focus on commercialism, and opening our hearts to miracles again.”

Reviews have called Miracle on 34th Street a “tale that we want to believe in … where love and decency and generosity of spirit are their own rewards.”

While McGarvey has directed numerous plays at Flathead High School where she worked for 25 years and has been in local productions with the Alpine Theatre Project and FVCC, “Miracle on 34th Street” is the first play that she has directed for the Whitefish Theatre Company.

“I have enjoyed my first directing opportunity with WTC so much,” she says “It has been an honor to join the WTC family, especially with a show as special as ‘Miracle on 34th Street’.”

The cast is comprised of 27 actors from around the Flathead Valley. The leads include Scotty MacLaren as Kris Kringle; Wendy McFadden as Doris Walker; Simma Lefcourt as Susan Walker; and Andrew Matulionis as Fred Gayley. Also contributing to the design of “Miracle on 34th Street” are Robbie Moody, lighting and sound designer, and Jen Stebbins-Han, props master. The exceptionally detailed costumes are designed by Sarah Bell and her talented cast of dedicated seamstresses, who’ve worked tirelessly to make nearly 100 costumes for the show.

“‘Miracle on 34th Street’ brings such nostalgia for times past and is wonderfully represented on stage with a beautiful set and one-of-a-kind, authentic costumes,” says McGarvey. “The cast and I have thoroughly enjoyed working through the script together, engaging wholeheartedly in the philosophy that Christmas isn’t just a day, but a frame of mind.”

To add interactive fun to the show, audiences will be invited to sing along with holiday music that will be played during scene changes.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $10 for students with reserved seating. Tickets for the sneak preview performance on Dec. 7 are sold only at the door and are $12 for adults and $10 for students.

Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office, open 10 a.m.to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before performance times at 1 Central Ave., Whitefish; by calling 406-862-5371; or online at www.whitefishtheatreco.org.