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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Performance Review: Holiday cheer flurries in ‘Miracle on 34th Street’

Miracle+on+34th+Street+has+a+cast+of+over+20+people+made+up+of+students%2C+staff+and+alumni.
Photo by Austin Carey for The Lafayette
“Miracle on 34th Street” has a cast of over 20 people made up of students, staff and alumni.

It is the 1940s in Easton on Christmas Eve. Holiday songs fill the room and cast members gradually file into a recording studio, greeting each other as they gear up to perform a beloved Christmas tale to a live audience. That is the scene of the latest Lafayette College Theater Department play: a radio show-style version of “Miracle on 34th Street,” a delightful production ushering in the holiday season at Lafayette.

Adopted from a 1947 Lux Radio Theater Christmas Eve Broadcast and based on the classic Christmas film of the same name, the radio show centers around a Macy’s Department Store Santa Claus named Kris Kringle, played masterfully by Téo Rodriguez ‘24 in Lafayette’s production, who claims to be the real Santa. 

In this production, director Michael O’Neill pulls back the curtain and immerses the audience in the experience of creating a radio show. The production brings the audience into the story as soon as they walk through the door of the theater, as cast members interact with each other and with the audience in character before the show begins, which makes the story feel more authentic. 

My favorite part of the show was the foleys, Lily Groff ‘25 and Kate Stadter ‘26, who bring the radio show’s soundscape to life with an odd assortment of items including roller skates, a telephone and boxing gloves. The crinkling of plastic to mimic telephone static, a small-scale door utilized for sound effects and a live, sound-heavy demonstration of making fake snow were so fun to watch. 

While I loved the visual aspects of the show, I also enjoyed closing my eyes and experiencing the show as it would be on the radio. Each performer played multiple roles, skillfully changing their voices and accents to give the illusion of a larger cast. Regan Thompson ‘27, Ian Horsch ‘27 and Nihan Cedimagar ‘27 are particularly talented in this. 

The production is greatly elevated by the presence of the entire cast on stage throughout the play. I enjoyed watching what the actors were doing while they were not performing. From going over lines to knitting to playing solitaire, the performers were able to make the show more realistic without distracting too much from the story unfolding. The drama happening at the back left table was particularly entertaining. 

Another highlight of “Miracle on 34th Street” was the musical interludes. These comedic commercials for “Lux Flakes,” a soap used to make synthetic snow included fun, high-energy renditions of “Let It Snow” and “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas” with beautiful harmonies. I was constantly impressed by the Jingle Sisters: Samantha Capone ‘27, Amanda Forgione ‘27, Benry James ‘25, Ella Furniss ‘24 and Amanda Graf ‘24. 

A standout musical performance was “Sleigh Ride” led by Karen Mamaras, the college’s assistant to the director of the arts. Paired with Tom DiGiovanni ‘96 playing live piano on stage and the use of the black box theater’s balcony, the song was fun and campy.

Gorgeous black and white photos of a New York City street are projected through the set’s windows, bringing the audience into the world of “Miracle on 34th Street.” The black box theater space is nicely used, with microphones angled towards each seating section, ensuring there are no bad seats. The set is sleek and polished, featuring a checkered floor, tables, a piano and a large, glowing WTBH Radio sign that reads “on air.” Topped off with a shimmering sliver Christmas tree and wreaths, the set provides a classic mid-century Christmas feeling.

In a 2023-24 season entitled “Reimagining the Classics,” the theater department continues to deliver superb performances of beloved stories with talented casts, on-point set and costume design and beautiful soundscapes. With a roughly 75-minute runtime and no intermission, “Miracle on 34th Street” is a fast-paced and cheerful experience to end the fall semester. Performances will occur Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 3 at 2:00 p.m. in the Weiss Theater in Buck Hall. Tickets are available at lafayette.universitytickets.com.

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About the Contributors
Isabella Gaglione, Culture Editor
Isabella Gaglione (she/her) is a junior English and Film & Media Studies double major from Long Island, New York. The Lafayette's resident Taylor Swift Reporter. 
Austin Carey, Staff Photographer

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