Corinth Theatre-Arts finds a ‘Miracle on 34th Street’

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

The classic Natalie Wood film “Miracle on 34th Street” is a holiday tradition for many, and Corinth Theatre-Arts is bringing it to life on the Crossroads Playhouse stage.
The play version is close to the original tale: There’s Kris Kringle, who swears he’s the real Santa Claus; there’s the very serious Doris, who’s passed on her demeanor to her daughter, Susan; and Fred, the young lawyer who still believes in magic. Fred must defend Kris in a legal trial as the pair try to prove he’s the real St. Nick.
“This is the story from the movie,” said director Cristina Skinner. “We’re trying to re-create Macy’s, and the world of Macy’s, on stage, and then in the second act we’ve re-created the courtroom.”
For the young Rebekah Petty, playing Doris is a bit of a stretch.
“Doris is a business woman; she cares about the facts. She doesn’t like fairy tales, which is very opposite me,” Petty said. “I’ve been looking at my own life to draw in that seriousness.”
Anna Kate McEllhiney, 11, plays Doris’ daughter, Susan, who undergoes quite a transformation in “Miracle on 34th Street.”
“She’s dull. She has no imagination. She is not fun at all,” Anna Kate said of Susan. “But she turns out good, though.”
The 1947 film is one of Anna Kate’s favorite movies, so she’s well prepared for her role.
“When I heard they were putting on ‘Miracle,’ I told my mom, ‘I have to try out for this play,’ and she was like, ‘OK, OK,” she said. “I love it so much.”
Skinner said she hasn’t told her cast to watch the film, or not watch the film. It’s up to the actors to create their own world.
“I know a lot of people have seen the 1947 version, just because it’s a part of their world,” she said. “At the same time, we have a very different and unique view of this play.”
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com

• Dim the lights
What: Corinth Theatre-Arts presents “Miracle on 34th Street”
When: 7:30 p.m Dec. 14-15, 2 p.m. Dec. 16
Where: Crossroads Playhouse
Cost: $12/adults, $6/students
Info: (662) 287-2995

• “Miracle on 34th Street” cast: Richard Strachan (Kris Kringle); Bernice Messori (Dr. Pierce); Rebekah Petty (Doris); Anna Kate McEllhiney (Susan); Dan Marsh (Fred); Tom Soltz (Mr. Macy, Al); Debi McKenzie (Ms. Shellhammer); Gracie Smith (Charlie Halloran); Randy Duke (Sawyer); Ron McKenzie (Bloomingdale, Judge Harper); Leah Petty (Finely, Bag Lady, Foster Mother, Elf W, Singer 3,2, Pedestrian); Cody Daniel (Mara); Max Marsh (Johnny); Caroline Anderson (Dutch Girl); Katera Bridges (Sharon); Anna Hudson (Janet Mara, Megan, Child 2); Will Senf (Child 1); Walker Bobo (Drunken Santa, Megan’s parent, Elf R, Singer 1, Jim Duncan); Cecilia Dean (Rich person, photographer, Elf Z, Singer 3, Pedestrian); Paige Sheffield (Newscaster, Elf J, Sharon’s parent, Singer 4, Pedestrian); T’Keeyah Cummings (Johnny’s parent, Elf Q, Photographer, Singer 5, Pedestrian, Lou); Hailey Raines and Hannah Johnson (Perma-Elves)