Moonlight will present its very first holiday musical: “Miracle on 34th Street”


For the first time in its 40-year history, Vista’s Moonlight Stage Productions will produce a holiday musical, “Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play”.

Production opening tonight at Vista’s Avo Playhouse was originally slated for December 2020, but the pandemic has forced Moonlight to put that plan on hold. Because Oceanside playwright Lance Arthur Smith based his 2016 play “Miracle” on a live script from a 1947 show at the Lux Radio Theater in New York City, Moonlight decided to produce it instead last year. as an audio recording. Now, with the theaters open again, the full musical will be presented to audiences live on stage.

“Miracle on 34th Street,” produced as both an Oscar-winning film and radio show in 1947, is the story of a no-nonsense, hardworking single mother who raised her young daughter to believe not to Santa Claus. But when a gentle bearded retiree calling himself Kris Kringle walks into their life, all of their Christmas wishes for love, home and family come true.

Prior to joining Moonlight Stage Productions in 2017, Executive Producer Colleen Kollar Smith worked as Executive Director at the San Diego Musical Theater. In 2016, the producers of MTDS asked him to come up with a new musical for the holiday season. She had loved Cygnet Theater’s 1940s-style radio vacation show “It’s a Wonderful Life”, so she tracked down Lux’s screenplay for “Miracle,” which is in the public domain.

Zane Camacho, left, Jazley Genovese, Jenna Lea Rosen and Rudy Martinez rehearse a scene for “Miracle on 34th Street, a Musical Radio Play” by Moonlight Stage Productions at the Avo Playhouse.

(Fred Tracey)

SDMT tasked playwright Smith – who is Kollar Smith’s husband – and songwriter-arranger Jon Lorenz to turn the story into one play with radio sound effects, old-fashioned commercials and an original score of songs. vacation. The show takes place in a 1940s New York radio studio where an announcer, actors, singers and a sound artist bring the story to life for the audience. Smith said he had always been a fan of the old-fashioned radio series because they were the favorites of his late father, a depression-era baby who died of cancer more than 20 years ago. a quarter century.

Under the direction of Kollar Smith, the show premiered in December 2016 at the Horton Grand Theater in San Diego. Since then, the play has had over 30 productions worldwide, including one in England which was nominated for several awards.

For the Moonlight production, Kollar Smith will once again direct and choreograph the show, and composer Lorenz will resume his duties as Music Director. Playwright Smith is busy elsewhere this holiday season, playing as an adult resident of Whoville in “Dr. How the Grinch Stole Christmas from Seuss! Musical.

The 10-member cast of the show, who will play the dual roles of performers on the radio and the characters they play in the “Miracle on 34th Street” story. The show stars San Diego actor Ralph Johnson as Kristofer van Lisberg / Kris Kringle, who reprise the role he played both at the San Diego Musical Theater and last year in the Moonlight audio show. John W. Wells plays the radio station’s announcer and Morgan Carberry will serve as noise artist and musical accompanist. Jenna Lea Rosen stars as single mother Cordelia; Ava Mendoza plays her daughter, Gracie; and Rudy Martinez will play Grady, who falls in love with Cordelia.

“Miracle on 34th Street: a live musical piece on the radio”

When: Opens tonight and runs through December 23. Session times, Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays. 2 p.m. on Sunday. Plus additional performances at 7 p.m. from December 20 to 23.

Or: Moonlight Stage Productions at Avo Playhouse, 303 Main St., Vista

Tickets: $ 37 to $ 47

Telephone: (760) 724-2110

In line: moonlightstage.com

COVID protocol: Proof of complete vaccination or negative COVID-19 PCR test result within 72 hours of the show. Masks compulsory inside.

The actors rehearse for "Miracle on 34th Street, a radio musical piece."

Jenna Lea Rosen and Jazley Genovese rehearse a scene from “Miracle on 34th Street, a Musical Radio Play” by Moonlight Stage Productions.

(Fred Tracey)

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