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'Miracle on 34th Street, a Live Radio Play' is excellent


Last updated 12/6/2017 at Noon

San Diego Musical Theatre cast of "Miracle on 34th Street, a Live Radio Play". Ken Jacques photo (San Diego Musical Theatre cast of "Miracle on 34th Street, a Live Radio Play". Ken Jacques photo)

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal

There is no better way to usher in the holiday season than by spending an evening with the cast of "Miracle on 34th Street, a Live Radio Play". It is everything good about the upcoming Christmas season. Part fantasy part love story, and it’s a musical treasure.

San Diego Musical Theatre (SDMT) has a history of providing wholesome entertainment for the entire family. On opening night, Director Brian Rickel was like an expectant father pacing the sidewalk in front of the doors. Jubilant yet anxious, he had no need to worry. This is an inspired production fulfilling all of the promise of the true meaning of Christmas. And, with this outstanding cast, the show is a joy to watch.

"Miracle on 34th Street, a Live Radio Play" is set in New York City in 1947 at the Lux Radio Theatre. The studio is decked out in its holiday finery and fulfills the promise of this Christmas standard with extraordinary vocals, by a gifted cast which is interspersed with sparkling character change ups.

As each performance was four-star, it is impossible to designate one actor above another. Here is the cast: Lise Hafso as Olivia Glatt, Steven Freitas as Wallace Ainsley, Tim West as Kristofer Van Lisberg aka Kris Kringle, Janaya Mahealani Jones as Cordelia Ragsdale, Matthew Malecki as Grady Williams, Chris O’Bryon as Alex Mealdo, Master of Ceremonies and Cassidy Smith as Gracie DeMarko.

Supporting this excellent production is musical director Jon Lorenz. He kept everything on pace and in sync through the remarkable sound design by Keven Anthenill. Michael McKeon created a fairyland for elves with his imaginative holiday set design for the broadcast studio at Christmas time which was further supported by Janet Pitcher’s 1940’s costume selections. And no surprise, Pitcher is always spot on with her costume selections as were the wigs and hair by the talented Peter Herman.

Playing at the Horton Grand Theatre at 444 4th Street in the Gaslamp District, there is now convenient prepaid parking across the street at 435 4th Street through Ace Online Parking (select the City Square site). It is a much-reduced rate. Just print out the bar code receipt and take with you to give to the attendant.

"Miracle on 34th Street, a Live Radio Play" is running until Dec. 24 multiple times weekly. Go to or call (858) 560-5740 for your tickets to find out for yourself if Santa Claus is really real.


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