Thursday, December 12, through Sunday, December 15
The Spotlight Theatre, 1800 Seventh Avenue, Moline IL
Delivering what the Denver Post called “a sleighful of gifts” including “a minuet of the familiar and the special” and a “gentle, genial advocacy of the impossible,” the holiday spectacular Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical, running December 12 through 15, serves as the final production in the Spotlight Theatre's 2019 season, an adaptation of the beloved movie classic boasting music and lyrics by The Music Man creator Meredith Willson.
As in the iconic 1947 movie, the musical stage version of Miracle on 34th Street finds sensible single mother Doris Walker not wanting her six-year-old Susan's head filled with romantic notions. Such notions, however, are exactly what are on the mind of neighbor Fred Gailey as he tries to woo Doris by charming Susan and taking her to see Santa Claus at Macy's, the Manhattan department store in which Doris works. At first, practical-minded Doris is not impressed. But when she begins to think that this Macy's Santa may, in fact, be the real Kris Kringle, a wave of love spreads across New York City that begins to melt even the most cynical of hearts. Filled with humor, spectacle, and such beloved songs as “Pine Cones and Holly Berries,” “My State, My Kansas,” and the timeless seasonal tune “It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” this joyous, heartwarming musical is pure family entertainment by legendary composer and lyricist Willson, whose follow-up to The Music Man debuted on Broadway in the fall of 1963. The show finally closed after nearly a year and 334 performances, and continues to enchant audiences both new to its story and well-familiar with the film classic starring Natalie Wood, Maureen O'Hara, and the Oscar-winning Edmund Gwenn.
Directing Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical for the Spotlight Theatre is frequent stage actor Chris Tracy, a veteran of the Moline venue who has enjoyed roles in such productions as Big: The Musical, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and last winter's holiday presentation The Happy Elf. Kris Kringle is portrayed by area favorite John VanDeWoestye, whose recent credits include directing the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's A Doublewide, Texas Christmas and appearing in Quad City Music Guild's Sunset Boulevard, while Susan, Doris, and Fred are respectively played by Avie Birdsell, Kristen Marietta, and Taylor Bley. And with the ensemble also featuring Spotlight Theatre co-founders Brent and Sara Tubbs and their children Taylor and Cooper (the latter making his stage debut), 16 additional talents compose the rest of Miracle's cast: Roger Akers, Chase Austin, Lillian Bellagamba, Miguel Cornelius, Bruce Duling, Madison Duling, Amelia Fischer, Isabella Fischer, Brandon Gale, Julie Hummel, Sara Laufer, Avery Leinart, Sophia Mitchell, Kevin Moore, Dorothy Turner, and Joe Wren.
Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical runs at the Spotlight Theatre for five performances December 12 through 15, with performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $20, and more information and tickets are available by calling (309)912-7647 or visiting TheSpotlightTheatreQC.com.