Musical merriment

Ocean State's 'Miracle On 34th Street'
By  |  December 18, 2013

One song and concept that is a departure from the attitude of the film is “The Plastic Alligator.” That’s sung by Marvin Shellhammer (Matt DaSilva), the head of Macy’s toy department, and the ensemble, touting the virtues of the toy he bought too many of and has to get rid of by Christmas. He believes that gullible consumers will buy anything if the advertising lies loudly enough. The crazed commercial mindset of this character is portrayed with magnificently deluded panache by DaSilva, my favorite performance here. (Forgive me for being a sap for sight gags, but I laughed every time he collapsed when the Macy’s competitor Gimbel’s was mentioned.)

Of course, the high point and payoff of the tale is the threat that Kris will be committed to a mental hospital for believing he actually is Santa Claus. Cue lawyer Fred to the rescue in the ensuing hearing, by which time Kris has charmed the sense out of everyone and a happy outcome is assured.

There are weaknesses in this musical, not the least of which is the arbitrary antagonism of Mr. Sawyer (Josh Christensen), who accuses Kris of “latent maniacal tendencies” quite out of the blue, rather than after having been bopped in anger by Kris with his cane. But by and large, Miracle offers enough that succeeds, making it all worthwhile.
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