Posts Tagged ‘Miracle on 34th Street’

Final Miraculous Thoughts

To say that the weekend of Miracle on 34th Street was great is putting it mildly.  I am so proud to have been part of this wonderful cast of on-stage and off characters.  Several newcomers who have never before been in a show, some who have not been on for years, and the veterans who just seem to come back for more ALL made it stupendous… well, judging from the great numbers and reviews from the audience.  There were several performers I have worked with previously whom I consider it a delight to work with.  Others that I have watched from being in audiences and have wanted to work with or have heard good things about.  And some of the most adorable kids starting out (when they are on stage… off-stage in the basement could get a bit hairy).  But overall, another worthwhile venture.

I always find myself totally grateful yet humbled by all the comments especially when it is directed to my own performance.  So hard to define what that feeling is but always remember to take it all in stride and acknowledge that it is a total group effort.  Especially for this show with a few of the casted performers decided to not show up during the rehearsal process after they had been called and said that “Yes, I’ll be there.  I’m still in it!”  Thank Heaven for our director of  many hats who stepped into at least three cameo roles.

Several on-stage and off memorable moments.  One of my favorites occurred opening night  when “Duncan” made his appearance as a witness during Kris Kringle’s sanity hearing.  The reindeer keeper walked over to the witness box, took off his hat, and off came his wig!  I also had fun during the courtroom scenes BEFORE Sawyer was fired!

Thanks Carmen, Bruce (the Totally maniacal and  vicious Kringle) , Harriet and Carol (had a ball during the courtroom scenes before Sawyer was fired), Bobbi Jo, Terina and Natalie, Travis, Michael, John (I can’t believe he fired me), Dusty, Bill, Carla, Beth (who did not flash me THIS show… LOL), Anna, Stefanie, Kate, Sydney, MacKenzie, Grace, Riley, Julia, Racer, MaGuire, Terri Lynn, AND MARY.    Still not so sure about the karaoke celebration Saturday night/VERY early Sunday morning but it was…. Interesting.

Sawyer learning from Mrs. Walker about Macy’s new Santa Claus.  I had a ball working with Terina and the entire cast!

Sawyer asking the “dangerously deranged” Kris Kringle a simple mathematics problem.  Bruce was an exceptional Santa!

A little eye twirl goes a long way.  With the vicious maniac.

The entire cast. Thank you all for a wonderful experience!

 

Back On STAGE

And I could not be happier.  I know that it has been two years since Hound of the Baskervilles but it really seems like yesterday especially this week when the last three months of fun work come to fruition.  Each experience is a different challenge and along the way I am lucky to meet new performers and work again with those I have previously been on stage before.  It really does feel like a family over time… at least in this neck of the woods.  Of course, tech week is full of interesting events:  New sound system that will be extraordinary I am sure; Mishaps with the set; Attempting to control the young ones in the cast when they are off stage; and other assorted chaos.

Yes, I once again was cast in the role of the slimy villain.  My favorite type of role!  When Mare asked me which role I would like (after I was informed that I was not old enough to portray Kris Kringle), I did not hesitate when I told her… “Sawyer.”  I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the role and make it my own but still have some of the nuances of the original in the 1947 movie, Miracle on 34th Street.  It must be paying off because Miss Mary told me after rehearsal tonight that she loves my character and what I have done with it.  AW, Heck!  As someone told me after I announced the role I had received “This could be your best role yet.  Both as a challenge and fitting your acting forte.”  One of my cast mates even compared me (the role, I assume) to a Bond villain.

Come and like us on Facebook and hope to see some of you in the audience with the great talent on and off stage.

Not Even Thinking About It Yet

I know that it is only a bit over three months away but it will be here before we know it.  I already have a standing invitation to help my new neighbors around the block prepare for their Christmas spectacular which they did annually while living in the Carolinas.  Plus, auditions for Miracle on 34th Street (in lieu of the postponed Sound of Music) are next week,  Yesterday, I was informed that Wally World has already started hauling out the holly not to mention the return of layaway.  I remember when there was lawawat (I can’t even spell it correctly) year-round.

Yesterday ar my voice lesson, I saw a stack of Yuletide books underneath K’s keyboard,  Tis the season, already?  Not to worry, I have a few weeks to decide on a few to work up as “I learn faster than most of the other students.”  Any suggestions?  I have always wanted to put a nice “Ave Maria” in my rep AND this would fulfill a request for a foreign language selection.

Another remark from the neighbors (TK is an E-Town native) is the absence of  things that were a part of our small town about 20-25 years ago… no more bakery, the town goes to bed with the sun, the second grocery no longer exists.  I told her that Halloween consists of one hour Trick or Treat and a parade to the fire hall for a costume judging.  Black Friday is another parade with Santa being driven on his Fire engine sleigh to the fire hall and then he returns to the North Pole after only one night of listening to the wishes of the little ones.  And what happened to the carolers who would go door-to-door.  She just shook her head when I told her that Scouts (Boy and Girl both) haven’t done it for years.  Kind of sad.

I guess I have been thinking about the holidays (in a way) for a few months while I have been receiving FB posts of holiday lights set to sounds of the season and photos of A Christmas Story scenes (which will be making its Broadway musical debut soon…. eh… I’m sure it will be successful but, reallY?!)

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Quite A Beard You Have There, Young Man

This facial hair is now starting to get to me.  Maybe if it was not the first time I have grown a beard in 8 years, I would be more accustomed to it. Perhaps it is because I seem to need to grow it in the summer.  (I always knew I was a bit odd, but…) But it has been the source of many comments… both complimentary and otherwise.  Those who like it never cease to amaze me.  “It makes you look very distinguished and dignified.” (Not too distinguished, I hope.  I would not want to spoil my sterling reputation ;)) “It really becomes you.”  (Ok)  “Keep it.  Dye it white and you would be an instant Santa.”  (There’s a thought!  At least it would be in season and would really be a conversation piece.)

The flip side has also been interesting.  “You look like an old drunk!”  (I’ll remember that the next time someone is casting a bearded drunk).  “I can’t wait until you shave that thing!”  (Which makes me only consider keeping it after October 18th). “Hey, Grizzly Adams!”  All in good fun.  Good for laughs.

However, last night, I got the ultimate compliment.  Who remembers the tv series Family Affair?  A lady I have known for ages told me that I resemble Sebastian Cabot who played the domestic Mr. French (was not aware that there were two) to Uncle Bill, Cissy, Buffy (who was played by one of the earliest child actor tragedies I remember… could be earlier ones), Jodie, and (of course) Mrs. Beasley.  Mr. Cabot also played St. Nick in one of the remakes of Miracle on 34th Street.  Never short on flattering me, my customer also gushed about having found my “niche in community theatre.”  Who am I to argue?

Perhaps I shall take a snapshot of the before and after shaving and post them.  Provided of course the naysayers do not continue voicing their disgust.

A New Miracle

Since none of the channels I get are bothering to show the glorious original 1947 version this year, I decided to spend my nine dollars on the Miracle of 34th Street DVD.  There is a treasure trove of added features including a very rare 1955 broadcast on the “20th Century Fox Hour of Stars” of yet another adaptation.  I found it very well done for the limited 45 minute run time.  There were of course deletions from the original but there was one scene that was in this adaptation that I saw for the first time on the stage:  Mr. Sawyer giving his speech on the evils of myth at Susan’s Progressive School.

There were also a few behind the scene stories that were very informative:

  • The filming of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was the real McCoy filmed on Thanksgiving Day, 1946.  This was the second parade given following its hiatus during WWII.
  • Edmund Gwenn (who played Kris Kringle and won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in the original) was Santa at the end of the parade.
  • Many of the interior scenes for Macy’s Department Store were actually filmed at the flagship store during the holiday season.  WOW!  Imagine the chaos that must have caused!  An identical duplicate was recreated on a Hollywood sound stage in the event that some scenes needed to be redone.
  • Both R.H. Macy and the Gimbel Brothers loved the film much to the delight of the filmmakers.
  • The film was released in June, 1947.  Fox did not want audiences thinking they were going to a film about the Christmas season in the summer so in its publicity campaign, scenes were carefully selected that would not draw attention to the fact.  The risk paid off and “Miracle” became a hit that ran in theatres for an unheard of 6 month stand.

A holiday treasure that teaches everyone that “faith is believing in something when common sense tells us not to.”  Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

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The Holiday Season Can Now Begin

I have seen Miracle on 34th Street… not the 1947 classic, not the made for TV redux, nor the most recent big screen treatment.  Tonight, I treated my sister and her two little angels to a live production.  I absolutely LOVED IT! The entire cast was magnificent… from the smallest child, to the briefest cameo, to the big guy himself.  The set was a stroke of genius.  The entire production flew by.  Everything that makes the classic film such a treasure was in place along with a few added bits that were pure delights.

Since purchasing the tickets on-line Tuesday, I had been overwhelmed by shrieks of anticipation by a certain 6 and 4 year-old.  Finally, the night arrived and I treated everyone to McDonald’s before going to the theatre.  A miracle in itself was that the girls actually were done eating BEFORE the time I said we had to head out.

During the show, Sydney was on my lap the whole time and was totally enthralled by the magic on stage.  Alyssa, on the other hand, was asleep before intermission.  After going down to the “confession” stand (as the 6 year old calls it),  Sydney began to share her M&Ms with Megan and I.  How cute was that?  And on the other side of me, Alyssa was again sawing logs.

After the show in the reception line, I told the girls to go sit on Santa’s lap but they wouldn’t… until I apparently moved down the line.  I didn’t see it..  I saw some fans in the audience who asked why I was not on stage and I put in a plug for a little show coming up in a mere 5 days.  I CANNOT WAIT!!!!

Once again… brilliant job one and all.  You created the Christmas spirit in everyone in the audience and made us all believe.  BRAVO! My favorite part as it is in the movie… I just love the little Dutch girl who hasn’t a friend but sits on Santa’s lap and they begin singing a song from her native land.

Family Time

This morning, Mom and Dad and I went to pay our respects at the funeral home.  None of us could go last night so we went for the gathering before they processed to the church.  We KNEW that the rather small church would not hold many people and with 10 children, 38 grandchildren, and who knows how many great grandchildren, there would not be many places available for other than very immediate family members.  I was hoping to catch Britt there but she must have been running late.

After, we returned to watch Elizabeth play basketball.  A riot watching the young girls begin to develop.  Autumn was great although she missed a shot and her mother yelled “USE THE BACKBOARD!”  Yep, definitely her father’s daughter 😀 .  I thing Elizabeth did more sliding across the slippery floor.  More than once, she got the ball and OOPS… whistle blows and traveling called.

I was also asked if I would like to get tickets to Wicked coming in April.  Of course… most musicals are worth at least a try.

And tonight, I am taking my sister and two young ladies to see the Santa Claus play.  They have been asking, and asking about it and finally it is almost here.  I must say that I am pretty excited myself.

It’s A Wonderful Miracle

I am in a quandary.  Next week, opening week of You Have the Right to Remain Dead, is audtion dates for WCCT’s production of Miracle on 34th Street, a show I dearly love.  However, I do not see much in the way of a possibility to try out when there is rehearsal each of the three nights.

However, the next production of the Village Players is another holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.  I’m not entirely sure when auditions for this show will be; since Travis (director for IAWL) and Mare and are both in Little Shop of Horrors at the same time as my show, I do not see them being held until after that.  Maybe when our time-strapped tangenteer has time to read this post, she might be able to provide a bit of insight or I may be able to ask at our next gathering.

But I think either show would be fun to be a part of.

Another Miracle

Tonight while watching the first snow of the season continue to fall, I checked the tv listings and discovered two movies that piqued my interest: Santa Claus The Movie and the 1973 made-for-television version of Miracle on 34th Street.  Since I have seen Santa Claus (the rather disappointing movie made by Alexander Salkind, producer of the Christopher Reeve Superman films), I decided to check out one of at least 2 remakes of the 1947 classic.  It is a virtual who’s who of 1970s television stars. Sabastian Cabot (Mr. French from Family Affair), Tom Bosley (Mr. C from Happy Days), David Hartman (whom I remember as the co-host of Good Morning America back in the day… can’t say much for his acting ability), Jim Backus (Thurston Howell III and Mr. Magoo, himself), Roddy McDowell,  and David Doyle (Bosley from the Charlie’s Angels tv series) were just a few of the actors that made the whole thing seem like a bad Love Boat/Fantasy Island episode.  I think the best thing about watching remakes is the fun in which one can have discussing the merits of the different versions.  I must correct myself; there are actually a total of 4 remakes.  Three television versions (1955, 1959, and 1973) as well as the 1994 theatrical version.

One tidbit I learned from imdb.com, Mr. Cabot had to shave the trademark beard from his role on Family Affair and wear an “official” Kris Kringle beard.  Another tidbit… upon the release of the 1994 version, 20th Century Fox offered a complete refund for anyone who did not enjoy the film.  Over 1500 tickets were refunded.  Not sure how many were legitimate refunds or if they just had a bunch of Scrooges.  One thing is clear… one should not mess with an original.

Now if I could just locate a copy of that FINE classically bad classic Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.  I’ve seen bits of this what I am sure is a totally misunderstood gem but have never seen it in its entirety.

Suspension Of Disbelief

Continuing with AFI’s list, I will now comment on the fantasy world. This genre is by far the one in which most people have to leave their logic and knowledge of the ordinary world at the doorstep and embrace their inner child. This was perhaps my favorite segment (as they did not include the 10 best musicals). But here goes:

  • Big (I believe that this Tom Hanks film re-started the whole kid-transforming-into-an-adult-overnight craze)
  • The Thief of Baghdad (silent movie that I cannot comment on)
  • Groundhog Day (? OOOOKKKKKK…. Why?)
  • Harvey (classic Jimmy Stewart film… near and dear to one of my frequent readers)
  • Field of Dreams (they built it and they did come again a bit of a ?)
  • Miracle on 34th Street (the original in glorious black and white which I have commented on before)
  • King Kong (1933 big scary monkey climbs Empire State Building and go boom)
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (another Jimmy Stewart favorite at Christmas time…. once in your life did you not want to know the world would be like if you were never born?)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (one of the most faithful book to screen adaptations ever conceived)
  • The Wizard of Oz

In my humble opinion, the classic Oz deserves to be at the top. I dare say that this movie has lived on for over seventy years and I do not know of anyone who has never seen it. If there is they must live under a rock. Speaking of rocks, there is at least one film that should have been in there somewhere. The Neverending Story is a fun fantasy (featuring Rock Biter) for children of all ages full of wonder and far away worlds. Also, where is The Princess Bride? The inclusion of Groundhog Day just made me scratch my head. How does one get on to vote on this A.F.I. list anywho?

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