By Shannon Hoyt —
Do you believe in miracles? Well, the Menomonie Theatre Guild (MTG) sure does!
Miracle on 34th Street, a Christmas classic, takes the Mabel Tainter stage this holiday season.
From the 1947 movie, to a book, play and musical, Miracle on 34th Street has continued to share its heartfelt story about a family’s questioning of faith, hope and belief.
“[The main characters] have pretty much lost faith in the world,” said Director Bob Butterfield. “[The mother and daughter] actually meet a man who calls himself Kris Kringle, and who gets hired as the store Santa at Macy’s. He actually believes himself to be the real Santa. Ultimately what happens is, his sanity is questioned and he ends up in the courtroom.”
Santa Claus represents the spirit and hope of the holidays, but this play isn’t without its own Ebenezer Scrooge.
“[My character doesn’t] believe in Santa and [she doesn’t] think others should believe in Santa,” said University of Wisconsin–Stout Professor, Tami Weiss, who plays the role of Sawyer. “[My character is] really focused on the difference between fact and fiction. [She believes] that we should live in the factual world and that we need to teach children the difference between myth and reality.”
Aside from the protagonist and antagonist aspect of the show, Miracle on 34th Street incorporates a variety of ages.
“I like to say that we have everything but a petting zoo,” said Butterfield. “Because we have children, we have older people, we have Santa Claus, we have a huge cast, we have a children’s choir, we have dancers, we even have a five-piece brass quintet. So literally we have everything but a petting zoo.”
With a cast of about 60 talented actors/actresses and singers, a miracle is brought to life on stage.
“[Miracle on 34th Street] is a feel good show, a time to escape and bring back some of the magic of Christmas and the whole idea that it’s okay to believe in Santa Claus,” said UW–Stout Associate Professor, Kevin W. Tharp. He plays the role of Halloran, the judge’s political advisor.
“It carries a message of hope, of faith, of believing, even when you don’t think that it’s the right thing to believe. I mean, faith is believing in something even when common sense tells you not to.”
The performances will be Dec. 4, 5, 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 5, 6, 12 and 13 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students/seniors.