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Centerstage to bring ‘Miracle’ show

Xavier Smith • Nov 27, 2017 at 6:44 PM

Centerstage Theatre Co. will present a holiday classic at Winfree Bryant Middle School for the next two weekends.

The group will present its rendition of “Miracle on 34th Street,” which follows the tale of Kris Kringle, who claims to be Santa Claus, and the court battle to prove he is the real thing after he is declared insane.

Donna Driver will direct the show. Driver, who previously acted in Centerstage’s production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Father of the Bride,” said she is excited about the show.

“The cast is great. Every one is spot on. They all memorized their lines early, so that hasn’t been a problem,” said Driver, who noted the group continued its practice of featuring new performers.

Dylan Bice will play Fred Gayley, the attorney tasked with proving Kringle to be Santa Claus. Bice previously starred in the group’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” production.

Bice joined the cast a few weeks after rehearsals started, but said the group helped him to quickly catch up.

“This is kind of the first play I’ve had that’s had this many lines. It’s a heavy line load, and everybody’s been really helpful, and the cohesiveness of the cast has been really good,” Bice said.

Driver said she was extremely familiar with “Miracle on 34th Street,” while Bice said he vaguely remembered the movie from his childhood prior to his work on the show.

“Getting into it, it wasn’t something I was real familiar with, but I was familiar with a lawyer role, which there are a lot of scenes for being a lawyer in act II,” who said three of his last four roles were as an attorney.

Driver said she loved watching Kringle unite the characters in the movie by simply getting them to believe in something, which Bice said he thinks the audience could learn from the play.

“You get to see how much kids really enjoy Christmas and Santa and this time of the season. It’s that innocence of being a kid and having a true imagination and believing. As adults, we kind of get away from that. It brings you back,” he said.

Driver said she thinks the audience could take something else from the show.

“This show takes place in current day, and one of the things I’ve done with this show is a lot of the professional roles – judge, lawyer and one of the doctors – are played by women, whereas they were played by men in the movie,” said Driver, who said she liked the idea of portraying different adult women perspectives on Christmas and Santa Claus. “I think it touches on where were are in current day. We want to believe in fun and Christmas and Santa, but we’re all very practical people these days. I hope the audience will take that it’s OK to still have that spirit and joy inside and really celebrate Christmas.”

“Miracle on 34th Street” will show Fridays and Saturdays from Dec. 1-9. Show times are Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students and are available at brownpapertickets.com, or at Iddy & Oscar’s on the Lebanon Square.

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