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Miracle on 34th Street

Pictured are Neil Friedman, left, as Kris Kringle and Stella Rose Hoyt as Susan in Theatre at the Center's production of "Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical."

Audience members wanting to get into the Christmas spirit should make plans to see Theatre at the Center's latest production.

"Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical" is lighting up the stage at the Munster venue. The show, based on the beloved 1947 film, "Miracle on 34th Street," continues to Dec. 23.

It's not difficult to get involved in the story of this classic tale, set in New York's Macy's department store, which tells the story of a man named Kris Kringle who says he's really Santa Claus and his interaction with a little girl who's been taught not to believe in what her mother says is pure fantasy. The messages of belief and the true meaning of Christmas are crystal clear in this production.

While many fans of the movie, which starred a young Natalie Wood, may not take to the fact "Miracle on 34th Street" has been turned into a musical, the song selections in the show are far from dull. There's a mix of humorous, poignant and traditional holiday tunes in the show.

Among standout performances are Stella Rose Hoyt as young Susan, Courtney Jones as Doris, Christopher Kale Jones as Fred and Neil Friedman as a charming Kris Kringle.

Courtney Jones' vocals are strong, particularly in the numbers "Arm in Arm," "You Don't Know" and "Love Come Take Me." Christopher Kale Jones, who starred in "Jersey Boys" and is also known for his vocal talents, does a fine job as Fred the lawyer who defends Kringle in court.

Traditional tunes "Pinecones and Hollyberries/It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" are also featured in the show and easily make audience members feel like singing along.

TATC's production of "Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical," was directed by Linda Fortunato, who is also the choreographer for the holiday production. With this heartwarming and fun musical, the Munster theater is doing its part to make the holidays come alive this season.

FYI: "Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical" continues to Dec. 23 at Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster. Tickets range from $42 to $46. Call 219-836-3255 or visit TheatreAtTheCenter.com.

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Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.