It’s a timeless tale: the triumph of love over cynicism and the hope that Santa Claus really does exist.
Lucky Penny Productions presents “Miracle on 34th Street, the Musical,” opening on Dec. 6 and running through Dec. 22.
The story takes place between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day in New York City, where a Macy’s Santa Claus claims to be the real thing. He believes he is, but young Susan Walker is suspicious. Of course, she might have inherited a bit of skepticism from her mother, a divorced single parent, trying to organize the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
The whole question — is he or isn’t he? — ends up in a Manhattan courtroom as characters learn to believe, not just in Christmas but maybe even in love again.
The 1947 movie, written and directed by George Seaton and based on a story by Valentine Davies, starred Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn and remains a holiday favorite. The movie won three Academy Awards.
The musical version was based on the novella and came to Broadway in 1963 (retitled as “Here’s Love”) with music and lyrics by Meredith Willson, creator of “The Music Man.” The score includes “It’s Beginning to Look at Lot Like Christmas,” which Willson wrote in 1951.
The Lucky Penny versions, directed by Michael Ross, with musical direction by Ellen Patterson, choreography by Liz Andrews, costume design by Barbara McFadden, scenic design by Brian Watson and lighting design by April George.
Alison Quin makes her Lucky Penny debut as Doris Walker, F. James Raasch is Fred Gailey, and Grace Martin and Ava Reynolds share the role of Susan Walker. Tim Setzer is Kris Kringle, Steven Samp is Marvin Shellhammer, Barry Martin is R.H. Macy and Dennis O’Brien is Judge Martin Group.
“It’s about believing in your heart,” said Martin, co-founder of Lucky Penny. “Putting your faith in love. Believing in Santa Claus is a metaphor for believing in anything. It’s what keeps us going.”
Lucky Penny launches the Napa Academy of Performing Arts
Lucky Penny Productions will provide a wide range of performing arts instruction for youth and adults beginning in early 2020 as the Napa Academy of Performing Arts (N.A.P.A.) debuts.
“A performing arts education program has been part of our dream since Lucky Penny was founded in 2009,” said Artistic Director Taylor Bartolucci. “It’s been a great joy to watch young performers learn and grow by acting in our productions, and the N.A.P.A. program will expand our capacity and get many more local kids involved.”
Registration for the first session of classes begins on Dec. 10 through the City of Napa Parks and Recreation Department. Students can register online at naparec.com for seven- and eight-week classes ranging in cost from $140 to $175, with the session beginning the week of Jan. 13.
N.A.P.A.’s Program Director is Karen Pinomaki, who earned a B.A. in Theater Arts and Communications from Fresno State University, studied with A.C.T., and received accreditation in the John F. Kennedy Center Teaching Artist Training program. She has worked extensively in Sonoma County as a teaching artist in local schools and as a coordinator for the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts. As a performer, she worked with Lucky Penny Productions, Sonoma Arts Live, Spreckels Theater Company and 6th Street Playhouse. She has directed youth and adult theater productions, classes, and camps during her 40 years of theater work.
Serving as N.A.P.A. artistic director is Scottie Woodard, who has taught theatre and dance since 1999, starting at his dance studio in Colorado Springs. His experiences include training by the Disney Theatrical Group, teaching in China at Shanghai Children’s Art Theatre, and several years as a teaching artist for Bay Area Children’s Theater. He is also an award-winning actor, choreographer, and director working with theater companies including Center Repertory Theatre, 42nd Street Moon, Woodland Opera House, Berkeley Playhouse, 6th Street Playhouse, Missouri Street Theatre, and Sacramento Theater Company.
The Napa Academy of Performing Arts will benefit from a special kickoff party – the “Happy N.A.P.A. New Year Gala!” on Dec. 31. Two events are planned:
— “Animazement! A Family Fun Event!”—Performance #1 is a New Year’s Eve show from 6 to 9 p.m for families, featuring a 60-minute cabaret-style music show with songs animated films, dancing, face painting, silent auction, hors ‘d’oeuvres and desserts, and a countdown to the ball drop in New York (at 9 p.m. Napa time). Tickets are $75 for adults and $25 for youth 17 and under with a $25 off adult admission for tickets purchased before Dec. 5. Use code EARLYBIRD for the discount. Tickets are available at luckypennynapa.com and by calling 707-266-6305.
— “Broadway Miscast”—Performance #2 is a New Year’s Eve show for adults from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., featuring a 60-minute cabaret-style music show where Lucky Penny fan favorites perform Broadway songs that they will never be cast in a show to perform. This gala will also feature a silent auction, hors ‘d’oeuvres and desserts, and a countdown to the New Year on West Coast time, followed by dancing and a toast at midnight. Adult beverages available for purchase at a full bar. Tickets are $75 for adults and $25 for youth 17 and under with a $25 off adult admission for tickets purchased before December 5th. Use code EARLYBIRD for the discount. Tickets available at luckypennynapa.com and by calling 707-266-6305.
Performers scheduled for the New Year’s Eve show include Daniela Innocenti Beem, Heather Buck, Andrea Dennison-Laufer, Ashley Garlick, Pilar Gonzales, Kirstin Pieschke, Karen Pinomaki, F. James Raasch, Emma Sutherland, Brian Watson, Scottie Woodard-Watson, and Kennedy Williams.