Miracle on 34th Street
adapted by Mountain Community Theater
Doris Walker, event co-ordinator for the New York department store Macy's, has a problem. It's Thanksgiving, and the man she hired to play Santa Claus in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade has been getting into the wrong kind of spirit — he's drunk.
Luckily, a man who not only looks like Santa but is named Kris Kringle happens to be at hand. Doris asks him to stand in for the drunken Santa, which he does so well that she hires him to play Santa at the flagship Macy's store (on 34th Street) for the Christmas season.
Kris starts directing some parents to other stores where they can get the gifts their children want for less than Macy's is charging. Management isn't so sure about this, but it generates so much good publicity that the store decides to encourage it, and rival stores adopt the same policy.
However, Doris doesn't like Kris telling her daughter Susan—who she has taught not to believe in fairy tales or Santa Claus—that he is the real Santa. Concerned that he is delusional and could be dangerous, she decides to fire him. By this time, though, he is a hit with management. As a compromise, a psychiatric exam is arranged. It doesn't go well for Kris and he ends up in Bellevue Hospital.
Left to right: Nicole Cannon, Jason Bowen, Jennifer Tryon, Amanda Liebeck, Dale C. Jones, Nick Neokleous
Threatened with permanent commitment, Kris finds himself in a court hearing where he is challenged to prove that he is the one and only Santa Claus. That sounds like a tall order, but a letter of encouragement that Susan sends to Kris indirectly helps him out of the jam he's in.
The story for the classic film Miracle on 34th Street was written by Valentine Davies. The film and a novella version were both released in 1947. The movie is widely considered one of the best films of that year, and the American Film Institute placed it ninth on its 100 Years...100 Cheers list of the best American films.
MCT’s special Miracle began in 1982 when the newly formed group wanted a holiday play. Two of the co-founders, Peter Troxell and Rita Wadsworth, dashed off a script for Miracle on 34th Street. The play was a great success, and MCT subsequently produced the show in 1983, 1984, 1987, 1992 and 1994.
Through Peter Troxell’s efforts, in March 1995 MCT reached an agreement with members of Valentine Davies’ family, granting MCT permission to publish and produce the play.
In February 1996, Phyllis Macy, a long-time active MCT-er, arranged for The Dramatic Publishing Company to publish and license others to produce MCT’s adaptation of Miracle on 34th Street. MCT received its first royalty payment in February 1998. Our Miracle began to pay off. MCT mounted its 7th production of the play in December 2002.
Then, in May 2003, The Dramatic Publishing Company stopped publishing and licensing the play, due to a dispute with 20th Century Fox regarding MCT’s right to create, publish, license, and perform the adaptation. Accordingly, MCT stopped receiving royalties from the publication and could no longer perform the play.
In 2008 the next part of MCT’s Miracle occurred. Peter Gelblum, a long-time theater person AND a skilled attorney moved to the neighborhood and became active in MCT. He decided to look into the matter.
After a very lengthy process, in September 2010, Peter and his brother Seth negotiated an agreement between MCT and 20th Century Fox that reinstated MCT’s right to publish, license, and perform MCT’s adaptation, now called Miracle on 34th Street, The Play.