ACT’s ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ makes it easy to believe in the holiday spirit

December 4, 2018

The Aiken Community Theatre’s Christmas production of “Miracle on 34th Street” is in the experienced hands of a two-time veteran of the show – director Margaret “Peg” Tribert.

This season’s Christmas offering marks the third time ACT has produced the show since 2002, and Tribert has been involved in all three productions, according to a news release from ACT.

In her first outing, the Aiken attorney played the prosecutor who tries to get the character who says he is Santa committed to an institution. Tribert’s second appearance in 2011 was as the judge who has the difficult task of presiding over the hearing to determine Santa’s fate.

Now, Tribert oversees a 42-member cast in ACT’s third presentation of this Christmas classic.

“I have been steadily pushed up the ranks in this show that I really love, and now I am enjoying recreating my world of all of the magic that happens on 34th Street,” Tribert said. “I just love this show. It has romance, politics, holiday warmth, the world of retail competition and Christmas magic.”

This year’s production is set in the 1940s rather than the present-day settings of ACT’s previous presentations of the Christmas classic.

The character of Doris, the logic-loving mom and Macy’s toy department manager who needs Santa to help her sell toys, is played by Emily Dowdell, who is making her second appearance on the ACT stage.

“Miracle is a feel-good story,” Dowdell said. “I like Doris because she must play so many different relationships, from mom to professional manager to problem solver and finally to someone who comes to accept one of the key ideas in the show: that ‘faith is believing in a thing when common sense tells you not to.’”

Charles Roesner is playing Fred Gailey, another key role in the show.

“Fred is the romantic in the show and the lawyer who must defend Santa against the claim that he is delusional and cannot be allowed to live on his own,” Roesner said.

Roesner added that he is doing his first show since middle school and decided to audition after seeing a poster for the show when he was in The Alley one night while out with friends.

“I love this story. I have been watching it on television since I was a kid,” he said.

The role of Susan Walker is played by Zoey Watson, and Santa is played by David Skeen.

ACT’s presentation of “Miracle on 34th Street” will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, 8, 13, 14 and 15. Two matinee performances will be at 2 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9.

Following the matinee performances on Dec. 8 and 9, Santa will return to the ACT lobby in costume to pose with people who would like to have their photo taken with Santa.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors (60 plus) and active military and $12 for students and children.

Online tickets are available at the ACT website at aikencommunitytheatre.or g or through the box office at 803-648-1438.

The Aiken Community Theatre is at 126 Newberry St. S.W.

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