DHT stages Miracle
The Miracle on 34th Street Musical: Here's Love: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday, through Dec. 19; at Diamond Head Theatre. Tickets $10-$10. Call 734-0274.
By John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin
A good cast and a great job by make-up artist Kathleen Kamaka-iwi are the key elements in Diamond Head Theatre's production of "The Miracle on 34th Street Musical: Here's Love." The songs Meredith Willson created for this musical version of "The Miracle On 34th Street" are not particularly memorable overall but the story remains a charming parable on the importance of placing love and faith over materialism and greed at Christmas. With DHT Artistic Director John Rampage as director/choreographer this is a fine all-ages holiday experience.
Bill Ogilvie (Kris Kringle) and Kamakaiwi Design share credit for the single most important element in the show's success. Ogilvie is so perfectly made over by Kamakaiwi that even his best friends will accept him as Kringle. The role requires more than a great costume and perfect make-up, and Ogilvie gives a career-best performance.
Kringle is the mysterious bearded man who saves the day when department store executive Doris Walker (Liz Schaller Stone) finds her rent-a-Santa is too drunk to ride in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Kringle makes such a good impression that she hires him for the entire season. Kringle quickly becomes a hit with customers when he starts telling parents where to go for the best prices on what they're looking for -- even if that means sending them to the competition.
When Kringle is falsely charged with assault a court must decide if he is to be sent to a mental hospital for claiming to be Santa Claus.
Ogilvie has some excellent talent around him. Janel Parrish (Susan Walker) gives an impressive performance as the independent daughter Doris has raised to believe only in things she can see, hear, taste or smell. Parrish sings beautifully throughout and is superb as an actress through a variety of scenes and emotions.
Stone is good as the female romantic lead. Doris was dumped by her husband as soon as their daughter was born and is determined to never fall for a man again. Of course she meets a man that she can't quite brush off. Three key songs provide important insights into the emotions Doris is experiencing. Stone make each a highlight in the show.
Jesse Michael Mothershead (Fred Gaily) interacts well with Parrish, sings well, and holds his own as Stone's leading man. He also looks too young and pretty to be believable as a 15-year veteran of the US Marine Corps. Kamaka-iwi should at least get the rouge off his cheeks.
Rampage backs his stars with an exceptional supporting cast. James Chang almost steals the show as Doris' comical assistant. Michael Beard (R.H. Macy) is convincing playing a much older character. Kristi Kashimoto, usually cast in bawdy roles at DHT, does well with a small straight role, and Dee Soliman gives notice he's a young man to watch for with his promising debut as Tommy Mara Jr.
Musical Director Emmett H. Yoshioka shares credit with Jim Luther Jr. (Sets) and Douglas S. Scheer (Props Master) for some of the technical embellishments that make this DHT show a pleasant escape from the hectic grind of the Christmas season.
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