BWW Review: MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET at CK Productions
The hustle and bustle of the season is in full swing and the - relatively - new Long Island theatre company, CK Productions, excellently delivers an enjoyable holiday production in Meredith Willson's classic Miracle On 34th Street. This musical incarnation runs through December 28th at their new location, Ronkonkoma's Richie Applebaum Theatre, with a wonderful, talented, and spirited cast.
The story centers on single mother Doris Walker, an executive at Macy's department store, who doesn't want Susan, her young daughter, exposed to "fairy tales" like the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa. It's simple, really; Doris is a realist and just doesn't want Susan to build up fantasies only to have them ruined and make her unhappy. At the same time their - also single - neighbor, former Marine Fred Gailey, attempts to court Doris by charming Susan branding himself as a father figure. Susan is enjoying this, but Doris is not amused.
Directed by Ethan Felizzari, CK favorite Sydnee LaBuda splendidly portrays Doris. After her Santa for the parade gets excessively intoxicated, Doris unexpectedly meets Kris Kringle, portrayed charmingly - perhaps young - by Matthew Mendoza, and immediately hires him as her new Santa. Ms. LaBuda's confident performance is well received particularly her stunning rendition of "You Don't Know"
Additional kudos to Dominick Iadanza for showing the true meaning of "the show must go on"; on opening night this past weekend, Mr. Iadanza not only portrayed the roles/tracks he was intended (including Mr. Gimbel), but he also covered the Bailiff, the Mailman, and several other ensemble roles when some actors were absent. And, of course, the children in the cast are superb and excited to be on stage. They have two casts and the role of Susan is divided up between two lovely young ladies; Cordelia Comando and Kassidy Harff.
On the creative team, Mr. Felizari's innovative and clever set is enhanced wonderfully by his lighting design and his costumes (with Ms. LaBuda). In Mr. Willson's score, fans will appreciate the subtle tones here and there of Mr. Willson's most famous work The Music Man. As an example, "She Hadda Go Back" sounds slyly similar to "Trouble".
And so, Miracle On 34th Street is certainly another hit for CK Productions and a great way to celebrate their move into the new theatre. A wonderful cast and a classic story make for a thrilling night of theatre this holiday season.
Miracle On 34th Street is presented by CK Productions of Ronkonkoma, Long Island, through December 28th. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call 631-496-9626 or visit www.ckproductionsnewyork.com.
By Meredith Willson, Direction & Choreography by Ethan Felizzari, Assistant Director Deanna Dubinsky, Musical Direction by Mike Janover, Assistant Choreographer Catherine Sweeney, Stage Management by Brandon RuferStarring Matthew Mendoza, Sydnee LaBuda, Cordelia Comando, Kassidy Harff, Cory Kowalsky, Josh Bieling, Kenny Kopolowicz, Alicia James, Christina Fink, Nick Camacho, Mike Shapiro, Ariella Mossey, Addison DeFalco, Matt Silva, Gabriel Silva, Alexis Tedesco, Dominick Iadanza, Ryan Sweeney, Kylie Smith, Rebecca Block, Sofia Masso, Isabella Licata, Olivia Puglisi, and Ava Monteleone