Category Archives: Picks

Parent Review: Miracle on 34th Street The Musical

Gobble Up
Some Family Memories this Thanksgiving!

Miracle Poster

 

Kris Kringle is Alive and Well and in The Hub City…
Catch him while you can!

Special holiday week shows through Sunday November 26th.

Moonlight Broadway has given area families another holiday treat… a chance to bridge generations with its latest production of Meredith Willson’s Miracle on 34th Street – The Musical.  It’s the perfect outing for the entire family during the Thanksgiving holiday week, whether they are coming from out of town or across the street, are young or old.  And this production is particularly charming because, in true Moonlight Musicals fashion, they have included many children into the cast.

In fact, the story line revolves around a child: Susan Walker (enthusiastically played by Abi Mills).  Susan is a little girl who was never allowed to believe in Santa or other things that are not tangible.  It was a well-intentioned strategy by her mother, Doris, to protect Susan from being hurt or disappointed from dreams that may not come true.  Susan’s quest to discover if her friend Kris Kringle really is who he says he is, strikes a chord with the kids in the audience, establishing Susan as a hero: she is the little girl who finds her Santa and whose faith helps inspire all the adults around her to believe in and follow their own dreams.

Santa march

The Thanksgiving Day Parade scene at the first of the show, with the kids and floats is fun, and includes a spirited march as the children at the parade fall in behind Santa, forming a line and marching to, of all things, a Christmas carol!

The music is festive and enjoyable and helps make the musical version more lighthearted than the screenplay versions.  One that everyone in the audience will recognize is a family fave:  “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”… who knew that one of our favorite carols was born on the stage!

We loved the gentle, kind, yet commanding presence of Kris Kringle, played wonderfully by Mike Morgan.  His warm and playful manner was fun to watch as he interacted with the children on stage, from leading the kids on a holiday march, to answering their questions and requests with compassion and sage advice.  And what our kids enjoyed as well, was seeing how Kris was able to to help the grown-ups believe once again in miracles and in the goodness of people.

Santa and HendrikaA real treasure in this production, was a song performed by Santa and a little Dutch girl, Hendrika (played by Aubrey Giselle).  Santa is approached by the girl’s guardian, who tells Santa that the little girl speaks no English yet, only Dutch, whereby Santa begins a conversation in her language and they sing the little girl’s favorite Christmas carol together, “Bugles.”  It was an enchanting moment for the audience and the pivotal moment when Susan started to believe that the gentleman known as Kris Kringle, could in fact be Santa Claus.

Parent Pointers:

Parents need to be aware that the show does start by showing a tipsy Santa, who was to be in the parade, which gave the real Kris Kringle the chance to take over as Santa in the parade.  And the entire basis of the show centers around the disbelief in Santa Claus:  Susan was never allowed to believe in Santa or other things that are not tangible.  So parents may want to be prepared to answer some similar questions.  However, as the story progresses, Susan was shown that “Faith is believing in something that common sense tells you otherwise” – another teachable moment with out kids.

Preparing for the show:

Miracle on 34th Street has several different productions available on film or video, which would be fun to watch together either before or after seeing the play.  Most of the movies are not the musicals, so especially with older kids, it would be interesting for them to see the difference in a musical format compared to a story or screenplay format and for them to share which they prefer.  In addition to having a Christmas theme with Santa and some recognizable music, the show also features rich dialogue that is a great chance for older kids to follow the story, but that might lose the interest for the littlest audience members at times.Miracle cover

Miracle on 34th Street is set in the post WWII era, which gives us the opportunity to share with our kids how things were different.  One of the main characters was in the Marines, and uses words like “dames” in reference to some ladies and “the head” when talking about the restroom, which can be explained in today’s context.  And an explanation or Google search for “Gimble’s” and “Macy’s” before the show could help them understand that during that time period Gimble’s and Macy’s were real stores and heated competitors, not just the men who were in the show.

How families benefit:

Thanks to Moonlight Musicals, we’ve had the chance to enrich our children with the inspirational, magical, and yes miraculous, world of performing arts.  And what some may not realize, or forget at times, is that Moonlight Musicals is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.  As parents, we can feel that purchasing a ticket to their performances is a win/win: our kids are exposed to high-quality theatre giving us precious time together and conversations about topics that are brought to light, plus we are supporting a local nonprofit.  The seeds planted by Moonlight Musicals throughout the community have been exciting to see take root and grow.  Every theatre department and group in the area has either been formed as an off-shoot or has greatly benefited from the multiple opportunities for children (and adults) to hone their on-stage experiences.  The vibrant Lubbock theatre community gives thankful parents many outlets for our kids to be able to tap into their inner star (and for some theatre parents it’s a God-send, giving our spirited kiddos the outlet they need!).

Just the Facts!

When: Thursday, November 16, 2017 7:30 PM.
Friday, November 17, 2017 7:30 PM.
Sunday, November 19, 2017 2:00 PM.
Monday, November 20, 2017 7:30 PM.
Friday, November 13, 2017 7:30 PM.
Saturday, November 14, 2017 2:00 PM.
Saturday, November 14, 2017 7:30 PM.
Sunday, November 15, 2017 2:00 PM.

Where: Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Theatre. 1501 Mac Davis Lane, Lubbock, TX 79401.

How: Tickets are available at Select-a-Seat, online, or by calling 806-770-2000. Prices Range from Prices range from $prices range from $15 – $35 for children and from $25 – $65 for adults.

Length: Lasts approximately 2 hours with a 20 minute intermission included.

Age: Recommended for ages 4+ but best for 6+ .  Younger kids may get antsy at times.

Going to the show?  Let us know!  Write your reviews below.

 

Credits:  Book, Music & Lyrics by Meredith Willson.  Based on the 29th Centrury Fox Pictures.  Story by Valentine Davies.  Screen Play by George Seaton.
All rights to Willson’s song catalog owned by Sir Paul McCartney.

Images from Lubbock Moonlight Broadway 2017 production of Miracle on 34th Street – the Musical, LubbockForKids.com, and Kim Phillips.

Parent Review: Peter Pan Proves the Power of Belief

Treasure MapsTick. Tock. Tick. Tock… don’t let this one get away!
Last show is Sunday April 23.

The Lubbock Moonlight Musicals organization through their Moonlight Broadway series once again treats the families of the South Plains to a top-notch, beautifully crafted performance that gives parents the chance to enrich their children and instill a love of the arts… and the ability to actually image themselves flying!  But invite your friends who don’t have kids too… it’s that much fun!

This performance of Peter Pan is a jewel and perfectly scheduled during the Easter holiday weekend (great for out of town guests) and during the weekend of the Lubbock Arts Festival (in fact, make it a day… most of the children’s crafts at the Arts Festival are in the lobby area, which is free of charge, plus they are offering free admission into the Arts Festival with tickets to see Peter Pan).

The set is beautiful and pulls even the little ones into the story… truly looks like a nursery, the sky, a forest and pirate ship.Peter played by Bridget Riley   teaches Wendy played by Francesca Arostegui andher brothers Michael played   by Aubrey Tucker and John play

This production is infectious… we found ourselves singing ” I Won’t Grow Up,” and  “I’ll Call for Tiger Lily, and I’ll Call for Peter Pan…” for days after the performance.   We loved each scene but the warrior dances lead by a mesmerizing Tiger Lily (performed by Alex Caldwell) were some of our faves.  Kids and parents will love seeing the young actors truly fly across the stage and across the skies to Neverland…  little Michael Darling (performed adorably by J. Aubrey Tucker) was even an old pro at flying, especially when grabbed in mid-air by the hands and feet by big sis Wendy (performed by Francesca Arostegui) and big bro John (performed by Elijah van Gilder).

The warm feel of the show is inviting… the professional talent (who were amazing!) combined with local cast members gave it a very approachable, reachable feel… one that the children in the audience relate to and can aspire to.  As we were leaving, we heard several kids say, “Wow, Mom, can I be in the play?  I want to fly like that!”  The fun was that contagious.

Peter Pan (performed by Bridget Riley) was stunning and so much fun to watch… a great, effortless flyer (you really thought Peter was flying!) and such a great voice!  The singing is what really struck our group.  The leads - Peter, Wendy, Hook, Tiger Lily - all had amazing, crystal voices that were perfect for each part.  Captain Hook (performed by David Edwards) was so well played… lovable, sinister, and hilarious with the perfect voice to not frighten the children in the audience, but to still give them a thrill.Captain Hook played by David  Edwards sings of his terrible plans to kill Peter to Smee played by Richard  Privitt and his pirate crew Keeg (1)

It’s evident to all, that Moonlight Musicals is dedicated to outreach and lighting the art-spark in our kids by including them in any way to join the fun… whether in the production itself (in fact, during the show, everyone has the chance to save Tink!), in their camps that they mention at the first of the show, and even in sharing with each child in attendance their own treasure map with crayons.  Each touch of the arts shares a new world with our children.

Teachable Moments

This production is a great example of the power of never giving up:  by thinking happy, positive thoughts, you can fly. That’s the secret of staying young, and we all have that power… with and without Fairy dust!  Such a great learning opportunity for our kids, and reminder for ourselves.  It was a perfectly-timed message for our teen (and parents too!).

Preparing for the Show

Children may think they know Peter Pan but many only know the 1953 Disney version. Be sure that your little princesses realize that this is a stage play, not the Disney version: they can (and should!) wear their favorite Tink or Peter Pan costume, but the character of Tinkerbell in the show does not take human form. She is a lively, sparkling light. But never fear: Tink is so cleverly acted, that her spunky personality shines through!  For older kids, encourage them to take a look at the original novel and then share their thoughts.  The Alligator is also never seen, but always heard by his loud, scary “Tick Tock.”   The imagination is always engaged!

Another point that parents can cover before the show, is that this presentation is from the novel, which was written at the turn of the century in 1904… a time when some words had different meanings. At the first of the show, Peter uses a funny word that in previous times meant a “funny donkey”… however some children may think it’s an unkind word (yes, you guessed it… starts with an A and ends with an S).  Another nice learning opportunity.

Just the Facts!

When:
Friday, April 14, 2017 7:30pm.
Saturday, April 15, 2017 7:30pm.
Friday, April 21, 2017 7:30pm
Saturday, April 22, 2017 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Sunday, April 23, 2017 2:00pm

Where:
Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Theatre. 1501 Mac Davis Lane, Lubbock, TX 79401.

How:
Tickets are available at Select-a-Seat, online, or by calling 806-770-2000. Prices Range from Prices range from $25-$75.

Length:
Lasts approximately 2 hours with a 20 minute intermission included.

Age:
Recommended for all ages but ideal for 4+.  Younger kids may get antsy at times, but the music and theatrics will keep them engaged.

Gone to the show?  Let us know!  Write your reviews below.

Credits:  A Musical Based on the Play and Novel by Sir J.M. Barrie.
Lyrics by Carolyn Leigh.  Additional Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green.
Music by Morris (Moose) Charlap.  Additional Music by Jule Styne.
Originally directed, choreographed and adapted by Jerome Robbins.
Producer:  Gerald Dolter.
Director/Choreographer:  Jeff Smith.
Conductor:  John S. Hollings

Images from Lubbock Moonlight Broadway 2017 production of Peter Pan (R) The Stage Musical and Elizabeth Logan.