Scarborough Players production of Miracle on 34th Street opens this week

The cast and crew of Scarborough Players upcoming production of Miracle on 34th Street. The play opens on Nov. 29. Photo by Thomas Kowal.

The Scarborough Players celebrate their 61st season with a presentation of Valentine Davies’ holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street.

Show times are Nov. 29-30, Dec. 5, 6, 7, 12 and 13 at 8 p.m.; and Dec. 1, 8 and 14 at 2 p.m. at the Scarborough Village Theatre, 3600 Kingston Rd.

The Scarborough Players production is directed by Jeff Burke and produced by Linda Brent.

The film version of Miracle on 34th Street based on a story by Davies was first released June 1947 and starred Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn.

It won three Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Gwenn), Davies for Best Writing – Original Story, as well as Best Writing – Screenplay. The film was also nominated for Best Picture, losing to Gentleman’s Agreement.

For more than 70 years, it has been a “go-to holiday classic”. It is the kind of spirited, burst-your-heart plot that makes those who see it want to spread the Christmas cheer.The Scarborough Players production is set between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day 1954 in New York City, and centres on Macy’s department store employee Doris Walker (Janice Peters Gibson in her Scarborough Players debut), a single mother, who has to hire a new Santa Claus for the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Her choice turns out to be the best Santa the store has ever had. However, Doris has reservations when Mr. Kringle (Stephen Flett in his second turn at the role) insists that he actually is Santa Claus.

Even Doris’ young daughter Susan (Apollonia Arpaia), who Doris has raised to be a nonbeliever, starts to wonder if Mr. Kringle is in fact the real Santa Claus. When Kris gets thrown into Bellevue Hospital after a confrontation at the store, Doris’ friend and neighbor Fred Gayley (Holm Bradwell, last seen in Rabbit Hole) steps up to defend Kris in a high-profile competency hearing that challenges the city’s holiday spirit.

Miracle on 34th Street features a stellar cast of new and returning faces including: John Pirker (as Doctor Pierce), Alan Maynes (as Judge Harper), Duane Taylor (as Mr. Sawyer), Drew Smylie (as Halloran), Karen Kavanagh (as Mara), Andrew Horbatuik (as Shellhammer), David Rudat (as Mr. Macy), June Watkins (Ensemble), Maria Modopoulos (Ensemble), Waleska Alvarado (Ensemble), Evan Maynes (Ensemble) and Tania D’Amico (Ensemble).

The cast is rounded out by young actors (many from Scarborough Music Theatre Youth) in the roles of the children in addition to entertaining with classic Christmas songs.

Scarborough Players invite everyone to find out if Christmas will be saved in this classic tale of the magic of the season.

As part of this production, a number of special events have been planned including an Opening Night Wine and Cheese Reception on Nov. 29 following the performance.

After the Dec. 12 performance there will be Talk-Back session with cast and crew led by producer Brent. The audience is invited to remain in their seats after the curtain call to ask questions and participate in a discussion. This is a wonderful opportunity for audience members to gain insight and reflect on the performance and the process.

To order tickets, or for more information, visit www.theatrescarborough.com/scarboroughplayers or call 416-267-9292.


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