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Miracle on 34th Street

Miracle on 34th Street

Reviewed by Tom Noreen

Susan Walker (6th grader Erica Cardinal) tells Kris Kringle (junior Steven Reed) that she doesn’t believe he is the real Santa Clause, and that he’s only an employee at the store. Fred Gailey (senior Nick Bonarski) had hoped Santa could get a Christmas wish out of her.

Susan Walker (6th grader Erica Cardinal) tells Kris Kringle (junior Steven Reed) that she doesn’t believe he is the real Santa Clause, and that he’s only an employee at the store. Fred Gailey (senior Nick Bonarski) had hoped Santa could get a Christmas wish out of her.

Christmas came early for theatre-goers when students at Cedar Springs High School took the stage Friday, December 11 for a special presentation of Miracle on 34th Street, by Valentine Davies. After weeks of preparation, and cancellation of the dress rehearsal and first show due to foul weather, the cast and crew presented a wonderful evening of entertainment, sparking a glow in the hearts of young and old alike.

In his first major role, junior Steve Reed gave a wonderful performance as Kris Kringle, playing Santa Claus just as we would all imagine him in our dreams. He reminded us that Christmas is not just a day but an attitude, a frame of mind, as he broke down the barriers of unbelief of not only the characters Doris Walker and her daughter Susan, but the audience as well. Kids and adults alike fell in love with him, and many kids approached him with excitement after the show.

L to R: Doris Walker (senior Ashley Sissel), Evelyn Adams (junior Jenna Johnson), and Mrs. Shellhammer (senior Sara Sowerwine) listen to Dr. Pierce (junior Tyler Felty) as he assures them they have nothing to fear from Kris Kringle.

L to R: Doris Walker (senior Ashley Sissel), Evelyn Adams (junior Jenna Johnson), and Mrs. Shellhammer (senior Sara Sowerwine) listen to Dr. Pierce (junior Tyler Felty) as he assures them they have nothing to fear from Kris Kringle.

Senior Ashley Sissell played the driven Macy’s personnel director who refused to believe in anything unless her “common sense” told her it was real with conviction and energy. She passed this view down to her daughter, Susan. However, Susan, played by twelve-year-old Erica Cardinal, blossomed under Kris’ care. Erica, who had more lines than most, was fantastic as she transformed her character from a somewhat sad, unimaginative child to one of joy and excitement as faith grew and she watched her dreams come true. Senior Nick Bonarski convincingly played lawyer Fred Gailey as he helped Kris in his mission to rekindle the light in Doris and Susan, plus saved him from his committal to the “nuthouse.” In return, Kris helped Fred in his quest to win Doris’ hand.

Senior Nate Stein forcefully played R.H. Macy, and senior Sara Sowerwine portrayed her character, the self-serving toy buyer, Mrs. Shellhammer, in a similar way. Senior Monique Hinds aptly played the insecure store psychologist and Junior Tim Mol did a great job in his multiple roles as elf and Judge Harper. Sophomore Tinsley Nulph shone in her role as the Walker’s housekeep, Cleo. Junior Tyler Felty played a caring Dr. Pierce as he voiced his support for Kris. Junior Jenna Johnson was a joy to watch as she played Kris’ one-person fan club, Miss Evelyn Adams, and was fantastic as she led the rest of the cast in the delightful song “Christmas Lives inside the Heart” at the end.

There were over 50 actors and techs (sound, light, and stagehands) in the show ranging from Kindergartener Tacho Gonzalez to fourteen seniors. Over half of them had never been on stage before! Each did a great job and should be proud of the wonderful show they brought to life.

The set was superb in its design and functionality. The raised, rotating platform with its multiple entrances made it easy to shift scenes. The judge’s bench at the top of the wall was great. The techs did an awesome with the sound, lights and quick changes on the set.

On Saturday night, Director Justin Harnden recognized the seniors, his assistants Kyle Avink, Adam Borst, and Julie Wheelock, and the many others that helped make the show possible. Harden closed with the comment, “Doing a show like this normally makes you not like Christmas, but this show I like and enjoy, making me look forward to Christmas.”

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  1. […] was sighted at Cedar Springs High School (see Miracle on 34th Street), at the Sand Lake parade and library and in Sparta last Saturday. He also made some other […]


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