Tickets are now on sale for the Rend Lake College Theatre Fall Play, the holiday classic, “Miracle on 34th Street.”
The play will run Thursday, Nov. 3, through Sunday, Nov. 6. The Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances will be held at 7 p.m. and the Sunday performance will be a 2 p.m. matinee.
RLC Theatre Director Tracey Webb said, “We have several new actors for this performance, plus some returning from past performances. That’s very exciting.”
“Miracle on 34th Street” begins at the Macy’s Department Store Thanksgiving Day parade, where the actor playing Santa is discovered to be drunk by a whiskered old man. Doris Walker, the no-nonsense special events director, persuades the old man to take his place. The old man proves to be a sensation and is quickly recruited to be the store Santa at the main Macy’s outlet.
While he is successful, Doris learns that he calls himself Kris Kringle and he claims to be the actual Santa Claus. Despite reassurances by Kringle’s doctor that he is harmless, Doris still has misgivings, especially because she has cynically trained herself and her daughter Susan to reject all notions of belief and fantasy. And yet people, especially Susan, begin to notice there is something special about Kris and his determination to advance the true spirit of Christmas amidst the rampant commercialism around him and succeeding in improbable ways.
When a raucous conflict with the store’s cruelly incompetent psychologist erupts, Kris finds himself held at Bellevue where, in despair, he deliberately fails a mental examination to ensure his commitment. All seems lost until Doris’ friend, Fred Gailey, reassures Kris of his worth and agrees to represent him in the fight to secure his release. To achieve that, Fred arranges a formal hearing in which he argues that Kris is sane because he is, in fact, Santa Claus. What ensues is a bizarre hearing in which people’s beliefs are reexamined and put to the test, but even so, it’s going to take a miracle for Kris to win.
“This play is all about the holiday spirit. Kris Kringle is upset at being presented as an icon of commercialism, when he is really defined by love and giving,” said Webb.
She said another interesting facet of the play is the presence of a divorced mother in 1947. “It is interesting because Doris is gunshy when it comes to trust and relationships. Kris helps her overcome that while teaching Susan to be a little girl again.”
Real-life lessons will be taught to the performers in the play as well, Webb said. “With large shows, there is not so much weight on one actor. We need as many people to help make this a success as possible.
“This will teach our students how to work together. It’s all about teamwork. The cast is creating magic for the audience. If they are giving everything they’ve got, they’ll get it back tenfold when the audience claps for them,” Webb said.
“I am really looking forward to this show. This is a story which practically everybody knows and loves and it is going to be exciting bringing it to life. This will be a great way to kick off the holiday season,” said Tom Herman (Benton), who will play Kris Kringle.
MIRACLE ON 34th STREET
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Kris Kringle--Tom Herman--Benton
Dr. Pierce--Monica Lawrence--Buckner
Sally’s Mother--Hayley Joseph--Christopher
Sally / News Kid 1--Brittany Klein--Opdyke
Jim, the Zookeeper / Charlie--Douglas Rea--Mt. Vernon
Doris Walker--Jennifer Norman--Benton
Mr. Shellhammer--Darren Hutson--Sesser
Miss Adams--Mary Swofford--Mt. Vernon
Soused Santa/ Finley the Bailiff--Josh Plunkett--Benton
Cleo /Tumbler Macy’s Parade--Danara Lowery--Bluford
Fred Gailey--Timothy Cox--Benton
Susan--Jordan Ray--Johnston City
Jack’s Mom (Parent 1)--Danielle Seagraves--Mt. Vernon
Judy / Child at Macy’s Parade--Kayci Kirsch--McLeansboro
Judy’s Mom (Parent 2)/ Photo--Jennifer Spann--Sesser
Attendant / Reporter 1--Whitney Schulte--Mt. Vernon
Maryke--Emma Meritt--Mt. Vernon
Maryke’s Mom--Brooke Meritt--Mt. Vernon
Mr. Macy--Matt Howard--Benton
Mr. Sawyer--Scott Carlson--Mt. Vernon
Mr. Gimble / Driver--Michael Bell--Mt. Vernon
Dr. Rogers / Baton Twirler--Anna Dukes--Bluford
Judge Henry X. Harper--Josh Whited--DuQuoin
Mr. Thomas Mara--Cole Butcher--Christopher
Ms. Henry Harper--Rebekah Horn--Mt. Vernon
Female Reporter 2 / Doctor 2--Kassie Stroud--Sesser
Thomas Mara, Jr. / News Kid 2--Austen Garrison--Opdyke
Alice Golden / Radio Announcer--Maranda Pedigo--McLeansboro
Louise Spoletto / Doctor 1--Lindsay Morris--Christopher
Director: Tracey Webb
Box Office: Gretchen Hampsey