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NUACT presents: Miracle on 34th Street

New Ulm Actors Community Theater (NUACT) presents New Ulmite Kent Menzel’s original radio adaptation of the classic 1947 movie.

December 9, 2012
Fritz Busch , The Journal

The heart-warming story of a holiday miracle, set in New York City, following Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Macy's department store employee Kris Kringle (to be played by a surprise actor), brings the joy and happiness of the holiday season to a little girl (Ashley Schaefer), her mother (Ruth Schaefer) and a stressed-out lawyer (Kent Menzel).

Is Kris Kringle the real Santa Claus? A court will have to decide.

Menzel wrote the play script adapted from the 1947 Christmas film written by George Seaton from a story by Valentine Davies.

Article Photos

Pictured from left are cast members, David Henning, Keara Roberts, Kent Menzel, Janet Holm, Ruth Schaefer, Paul Henning, Miriam Henning.

The film won Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Writing, Original Story, and Best Writing, Screenplay. It was nominated for Best Picture, losing to "Gentlemen's Agreement."

"It's new, exciting and fun. It's the first time I adapted the script," said Menzel who also plays the stressed-out lawyer in the production.

The production is directed by Chicago-native Paul Warshauer, who came to New Ulm two years ago to direct a murder mystery for NUACT at The Grand at the request of the late Bobbi McCrea. He didn't plan to stay in town, but as NUACT's Executive Director, he is finding it hard to leave.

Fact Box

If you go...

What: NUACT? performances of Miracle on 34th Street

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14-15 and 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16.

Where: Performances will be in the Martin Luther College Auditorium. Tickets are $5 for students and children and $7 for adults.

The cast:

Doris WalkerJanet Holm

Suzie WalkerOlivia Menzel

Margaret (Cleo)Lauren McDuffie

Kris Kringlesurprise actor

StorekeeperDavid Henning

Drunk Santa ClausJohn Knisley

Mr. ShellhammerPaul Henning

Fred GaileyKent Menzel

Alice (alfred)Miriam Henning

PeterPatrick Leonard

Peter's momBrenda Nielsen

TinaOlivia Menzel

Singing Dutch GirlAshley Schaefer

Dutch Girl's MomRuth Schaefer

Miss AdamsMiriam Henning

Mr. MacyJohn Knisley

Mr. SawyerMark Santelman

Dr. PierceRuth Schaefer

Mr. GimbelDavid Henning

Thomas MarrahPaul Henning

Judge Henry HarperJohn Knisley

CharleyPaul Warshauer

Mrs. Thomas MarrahBrenda Nielsen

Thomas Marrah Jr.Patrick Leonard

Lou, postal workerMark Santelman

Johnny, postal workerPaul Henning

Newsboy 1Emily Knisley

Newsboy 2Olivia Menzel/Patrick Leonard

Newsboy 3Lauren Duffie

Card girlAshley Schaefer

AnnouncerMark Santelman

Stage directorKeara Roberts

Warshauer, who directed as well as produced the play said "Miracle on 34th Street" may be the best Christmas story for Americans in 2012 because the commercialization of the holiday season from Thanksgiving through New Years makes us all wonder, have we lost sight of the true meaning of the season?

"This great radio play should be seen by families, couples, kids, and seniors, then discussed over the holiday," Warshauer said. "The cast is incredible. Their voices tell the story in an incredible fashion."

Performances at the New Ulm Martin Luther College Auditorium begin at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14-15 and 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16. Tickets are available at Hy-Vee, Cashwise, New Ulm Chamber of Commerce and at the door of online at $5 for students and children and $7 for adults.

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