Community

Check out the Holiday ‘Miracle’ in Yorktown this Weekend

James Gerth stars as Kris Kringle in the musical “Miracle on 34th Street” at Yorktown Stage through Sunday, Nov. 26. Credits: Douglas DeMarco/Brown Paper Bag

YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- With this year’s Indian summer finally giving way to wintry weather, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Over on Veterans Road in Yorktown, it’s looking even more like Christmas, thanks to Yorktown Stage’s mirthful, musical production of the beloved Hollywood classic “Miracle on 34th Street.” 

Originally on Broadway in the 1960s under the title “Here’s Love,” the holiday confection has songs by Meredith Willson, who immortalized himself by writing the lyrics and music for “The Music Man.” 

Sign Up for E-News

Even though his musical numbers for “Miracle” do not have the ring of familiarity of a “76 Trombones” or “Till There Was You,” they are by turns thoroughly pleasant and infectious, with some echoes of spirited “Music Man” tunes like “Ya Got Trouble.”

There are fun songs for the kids, like “Plastic Alligators” and the opening number, “Big Clown Balloons,” and there are more adult ballads, like “You Don’t Know,” plus a song everyone will recognize in “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.” (Written in 1951 by Mr. Willson, it already was a holiday standard and conveniently plugged into this show.) 

To briefly recount the family-friendly fantasy, Doris Walker (Christine DiTota) works at Macy’s, and hires a man who calls himself Kris Kringle (James Gerth) as the new Santa. Doris’s 6-year-old daughter Susan (Alyssa Emily Marvin) believes in Kris, while her no-nonsense mom, a single parent, sees him as an actor hired by the department store, just like any other Santa impersonator. 

Along comes neighbor Fred Gailey (Jason Fogarty), a lawyer, to befriend Susan and, ultimately, win over Doris as well, while also championing Kris as the real deal.

As anyone who’s seen the movie will agree, the Oscar-winning story and the theatricality work their magic only if Kris Kringle is, well, believable. Yorktown Stage could not have a better or more ebullient actor in the central role than the inimitable James Gerth, a Broadway-seasoned performer who brings it all to this role.

It’s hard to disassociate your mind’s eye from the same character created indelibly on screen by Edmund Gwenn in the 1947 film, and Mr. Gerth virtually channels that performance in the best way possible. He is charming, compassionate, and bellows happy, hearty ho-ho-hos that echo throughout the theater.

As Doris Walker, veteran actor Christine DiTota brings to the stage a very strong presence that is both brassy and bountiful in musical and acting talent, a winning combination that helps propel the critical scenes that she anchors. 

In counterpoint to Doris, Jason Fogarty is well cast as soothing, sensible legal eagle Fred Gailey.

Alyssa Emily Marvin impresses in the role of Susan (played on screen by Natalie Wood), with an easy confidence and obvious acting chops that avoid the too-cutesy mannerisms that can trip up less skilled young performers. She is a joy to watch.

The entire cast, from the oldest to the youngest, appears to have fun on stage, which usually has the same effect on the audience. Yorktown Stage mainstay Douglas DeMarco is a formidable but friendly R.H. Macy and does a fine job waving the flag (literally) in the anthem, “My State, My Kansas.” 

Other standouts include Glenn Weill as Mr. Shellhammer, Jeff Schlotman as the Judge, David Seven-Sky as Thomas Mara Sr., Elise Godfrey as Miss Crookshank (and others), Miguel Acevedo (Tammany), Addison Valentino (Henrika), Stacy Basinger-Goodman (Henrika’s Mother), Bill Halliburton as Mr. Sawyer (and others), and little scene-stealer John Mahanna as Thomas Mara, Jr. 

As always with Yorktown Stage productions, creative and technical quality aspire to Broadway standards, with direction by August Abatecola, choreography by Carrie Silvernail, music direction of the live orchestra by Ricky Romano, lighting design by Andrew Gmoser and sound design by Scott Tunkel.

Casey Brehm is stage manager, and the inimitable Barry Liebman, whose dedication to the arts and business savvy keep Yorktown Stage a priceless cultural treasure, is producer and artistic director.

For tickets to this weekend’s final performances, visit YorktownStage.org or call 914.962.0606. Curtain times are Friday, Nov. 24, at 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 25, at 1 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 26, at 2 p.m. Ticket Prices: Children (11 and under) $19; Seniors (62 and over) and Students (under 22) $21; Adults $26. Group discounts available.   

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

North Salem

Meeting Robert Kennedy

(This is the second installment in a series.)

It has been nearly 50 years since U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was fatally shot in the Hotel Ambassador in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968. I  have often thought how my life might have changed if the Palestinian assassin Sirhan Sirhan had not killed an outstanding statesman who I  was sure would have been elected president of the United States ...

Charlottesville Nazi March: Now With Facts

The Virginia State Police badly failed in its role to prevent violence and protect citizens at the Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va., last August.

That is the key takeaway from a 200-page report on the rally released to the public Dec. 1. The report was written by Timothy J. Heaphy, a United States attorney hired by the city to investigate the debacle that ensued when the Nazi rally was met ...

Grateful to Organize

As a professional organizer, you would assume that I am passionate about organizing. I am not—I am passionate about people. Given the choice between being at home and dealing with my own piles or going to Pleasantville and sorting out Mrs. Martin’s closet, I will chose Mrs. Martin and her closet every single time. I enjoy my own company but I know that story and at this point, I would ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_d06a101993651aac0b78_n1712p31008h

Wed, December 13, 12:00 PM

Le Fontane Ristorante, Somers

Annual North Salem Seniors Holiday Party

Sat, December 16, 10:00 AM

Jefferson Valley Mall , Yorktown Heights

Yorktown Indoor Farmers Market

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Sat, December 16, 7:30 PM

Eastchester Church, Eastchester

The Living Nativity

Arts & Entertainment Religions And Spirituality

The Millennial Guide to Shopping

My 27-year-old daughter, Elissa, asked me what I wanted this holiday season. My choice was one of those newfangled, voice-activated digital doodads disguised as an unassuming sound speaker but which otherwise behaves like the late, great Robin Williams’ Genie from Disney’s “Aladdin.” “Your wish is my command!”

Already knowing the two dominant brands in this ...

The Eyebrows Have It

As I perused the latest fashion magazine, I noticed something about the models.

They all had big eyebrows. Big, perfect eyebrows. Big, sculpted, perfectly groomed and arched eyebrows.

And I did not.

Not that I’m comparing myself to a model, because that would be impossible on just so many levels. I could not make myself 6 feet tall, 115 pounds and willowy without a body transplant.

Driver Injured in I-684 accident in Purdys

December 6, 2017

NORTH SALEM, N.Y.-A driver was injured in an early-morning accident last Wednesday, after his vehicle crashed and combusted going northbound on I-684 at about 1:30 a.m.

The Croton Falls Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the scene at 1:38, where they extinguished the car, which had become engulled in flames, said Daniel Dreyer, chief of the Croton Falls Volunteer Fire Department ...