It’s a Miracle for Theatre in the Country

Theatre in the Country in Maple Ridge is putting on Miracle on 34th Street, the musical.

Lawrence Locke plays Kris Kringle and Avery Krysciak plays Hendricka in the recreation of the scene from the movie in which Santa speaks Dutch to a little girl who can’t speak English.

Do you believe in Santa Claus?

The heartwarming Christmas musical tackles that questioned and is being performed by Theatre in the Country.

Miracle on 34th Street follows the story of a man named Kris Kringle in New York City who fills in for a drunk Santa Claus at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. When he proves to be a sensation with the crowds he is hired for the store’s flagship Manhattan location.

Fred Gailey convinces his neighbour Doris Walker to take her daughter Susan to see the popular Santa Claus. Walker has taught Susan not to believe in fairy tales. But Susan questions her mother’s lack of faith when she sees Kingle speak dutch to a little girl who could not converse in English.

However, when Kringle claims he is the real Santa Claus, Walker worries that he is delusional and might harm somebody. This leads to a court case to determine the man’s mental health and to prove once and for all if he is indeed Santa.

“It’s [a story] near and dear to everyone’s heart,” said Reg Park, artistic director with Theatre in the Country.

The musical was written in 1963 by American composer, songwriter, flutist, conductor and playwright Robert Meredith Wilson and was an adaptation of the 1947 film.

“It is where the song It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas comes from,” said Park, adding that there are a lot of great musical numbers in the production of Miracle on 34th Street, including jazz to music from the Midwestern Prairie.

“At one point and one song, the whole scene shifts to Kansas, as if reminding somebody of their childhood roots and what Santa meant back when they were a kid,” said Park.

Projections are being used to recreate New York City’s 5th Avenue.

“One of the cool things we got a hold of is footage from the 1939 Macy’s Day parade that was actually shot in film and in colour,” Park said of projections that are shown during the parade sequence.

This is the first major stage role for local actor Bruce Mastin, who plays Gailey, while Lawrence Locke grew his beard specifically to play the part of Kris Kringle.

And this is also the first time with Theatre in the Country for Jacq Ainsworth, who plays the mother Doris Walker.

Theatre in the Country offers dinner theatre tickets, as well as theatre only tickets. Over the Top catering provides meals for all of the shows.

Miracle on 34th Street plays at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 16 and 17 at Theatre in the Country, 9975 – 272nd St. in Maple Ridge.

The Dec. 12 show was just added due to demand. There is also a matinee at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 17.

• For more information, call 604-259-9737 or go to http://theatreinthecountry.com.

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