It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas a little early this year in South Berwick, Maine, as students dressed as carolers, shoppers, toys and even Santa, prepare for this year’s Marshwood District Musical, Miracle on 34th Street.
This heartwarming story was adapted from the novel by Valentine Davies and the classic holiday MGM film by the same name. It tells the story of a charming, elderly Kris Kringle, played by Aidan Byrne, who is hired by Doris Walker, played by Kathryn Fagan, to be the department store Santa Claus at Macy’s. Kringle’s kindheartedness unleashes goodwill with everyone he meets as he sends shoppers to find what they are looking for and inspires a new campaign to be “the friendliest” store. After being accused of insanity for believing he is Santa Claus he begins to doubt himself and humanity. A visit from Walker’s daughter, Susan, played by Emma Gilliam, renews Kringle’s faith and brings back his Christmas spirit. Fred Gaily, a young lawyer played by Nick Hall, decides to defend Kringle by arguing in court that he is in fact the real thing.
This is director Tanya West’s thirteenth Marshwood district musical. Her first was Oliver in 2003. West has been thinking about presenting Miracle on 34th Street for a while. “The timing just felt right to do it this year,” she said. “It’s a family-friendly show for all ages and will be a great way to begin the holiday season,” she added.
West’s passion for the show and compassion for the children is obvious as she rehearses with the youngest ones, acting and dancing on stage with them to explain exactly what she wants them to do. When they understand and get it right, she warmly exclaims, “You got it-That’s it!”, resulting in huge smiles from the young actors.
Including the crew, musicians, students creating the set, and 60 cast members ranging from grades 3 to 12, there will be approximately 100 students involved in the production of the show, as well as 50 to 75 staff and parent volunteers.
MHS principal Paul Melhorn looks forward to Marshwood’s District Musical every year. “Tanya West does such an incredible job preparing the students for each year’s production,” said Melhorn. “To see students of all ages coming together on stage and performing at such a high level is astounding. I can’t wait to see this show!” he added.
This is Bev Roy’s eighth year helping with costumes for the theater. She began volunteering when her daughter Laura was cast in Suessical in sixth grade. “Laura had such a wonderful, life shaping experience being involved with MHS theater. I feel fortunate to be here for these children as they create their own wonderful memories.” she said. Roy worked closely with the previous costume director, Sharon Hilton, until she retired last year. “Sharon’s departure was a huge loss and I hope I can live up to the standard she set for MHS,” said Roy.
Featuring fun choreography and beautiful songs such as “Pinecones and Hollyberries,” “Here’s Love” and “That Man Over There is Santa Claus,” this enchanting, magical show is the perfect holiday treat for your entire family.
Performances for Miracle on 34th Street The Musical will be November 13,14 and 20 at 7pm, and November 21 at 2pm and 7pm in the Wesley E. Kennedy Performing Arts Center at Marshwood High School. Tickets are available for $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Reservations can be made by calling Marshwood High School at 207-384-4500 or online at marshwoodmusic.org.