Eleven years ago, Aiken Community Playhouse staged a huge, community-involved production of “Miracle on 34th Street.” This year, the popular classic is returning to the stage, beginning Friday.
“Miracle on 34th Street” is the story of little Susan, played by Maggie O’Leary, who doesn’t believe in Santa, and the wise and perceptive Kris Kringle, portrayed by Jamie Knudsen, who teaches Susan what imagination is all about. Mandy Woodhouse plays Susan’s mother, and Jimmy Moore plays the lawyer who succeeds in getting Santa Claus free just in time for Christmas. Countless elves, a children’s ensemble and a veteran team of adult actors complete the cast.
“‘Miracle on 34th Street’ is a feel-good Christmas story. ACP’s version of the modern classic follows the movie almost scene by scene so all of the favorite moments from the film are in the play,” said Thurmond Whatley, director. “‘Miracle’ mixes about 30 young people with a very strong adult cast. Everyone is having lots of fun putting this show together, so I am sure the energy and excitement of the cast will captivate our audiences.”
“We have done a family Christmas show for several years now. It’s fun putting on community theater with so many excited children in the cast. We have whole families participating in this production, and it’s been a great melding of ages, personalities and talent,” said Maureen Woltermann, director of marketing for ACP.
J.C. Crider, who plays dual roles in the production, is joining his wife, Julia, and two of their four children in the cast.
“I have only recently joined ACP, and this is the first time I have been able to work with my family on stage. My wife Julia, Todd (11) and Becca (9) and I have really enjoyed this together,” Crider said.
“‘Miracle on 34th Street’ is a great way for families to begin the secular side of their Christmas season,” Watley said. “We also have a special opening night event that should make the evening fun for everyone. I hope everyone will join us at 126 Newberry Street for ‘Miracle on 34th Street.’”
“ACP is also accepting donations of nonperishable food items for the Golden Harvest Food Bank bin in the ACP lobby,” said Woltermann.
ACP thanks The Willcox for its generous support in bringing “Miracle on 34th Street” to the stage.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for senior adults, $12 for students and $7 for children younger than 12.
For tickets, call the ACP box office at 648-1438. Show dates are Friday, Saturday, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 7, 8 at 8 p.m. Matinees are Sunday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 8 at 3 p.m.