Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Radio Play at ACT

Jayne Jeney, Jeff Packer, Terri Witkosky, and Sonia Doubell are among the cast of ACT’s holiday radio play.

Santa gets his day in court as Amelia Community Theatre presents “Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Radio Play,” opening Dec. 1.

The story of the Macy’s department store employee Kris Kringle who claims to be the real Santa Claus has been a favorite since the first movie came out in 1947. Natalie Wood starred in it as Susan, a young girl who doesn’t believe in fairy tales or Santa. Because of his forthright remarks, Kris Kringle is subjected to a psychological evaluation and a lunacy hearing. In a story told with humor and empathy, all ends merrily for Kris, Susan, and those who care for him.

After the movie came out, the Lux Radio Theatre presented live radio show adaptations in front of studio audiences, starring many of the actors from the original movie cast. From 1934-1955, Lux had the biggest radio drama anthology program on the air.

“Miracle on 34th Street” proved such a popular story that a Broadway musical version was written in 1963, another movie was made in 1994, and there were numerous television adaptations. Macy’s even had a puppet show version in 2012.

ACT’s stage version is modeled on the Lux Radio Theatre show. Directory Geoffrey Moss says, “I’ve wanted to take on a radio show for years. I love the idea of having a show that is focused on what you hear and not necessarily what you see.”

Part of the fun of a live radio show as a stage show is hearing actors play multiple characters with different voices and seeing how the sound effects are created onstage. ACT’s cast includes Jan Cote-Merow, Bob Duffy, Mika Doubell, Sonia Doubell, Rosalina Mudd, Atalie Jenkins, Jayne Jeney, Jeff Packer, Ron Price, Ron Thompson, Sue Weiner, and Terri Witkosky.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 1-2, 7-9, 14-16 and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 3 and 10 at 207 Cedar St. On opening night Dec. 1, the preshow party for ticketholders begins at 6:30 p.m. with a vintage holiday dessert buffet and a Christmas cider tasting in ACT’s decorated lobby.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students and are available at AmeliaCommunityTheatre.org and at 904-261-6749. The box office is open from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 90 minutes before curtain on show dates.