Smithfield Herald

Santa Claus coming to Benson in ‘Miracle on 34th Street’

The cast of “Miracle of 34th Street” poses for a silly photo with Santa Claus.
The cast of “Miracle of 34th Street” poses for a silly photo with Santa Claus. tknopf@newsobserver.com

Kris Kringle is coming to Benson this weekend to take part in the Christmas musical “Miracle on 34th Street.”

The Benson Foundation for the Arts and Benson Little Theater will stage three performances of the musical adaptation of the 1947 holiday film.

After the show, Kringle, better known as Santa Claus, will be available for a meet-and-greet with any and all who wish to say “hi” or tell him what they want for Christmas.

Kringle is played by an engineer from Dunn who is simply introducing himself as “Kris Kringle” for the purpose of the musical.

“This is a wonderful show,” he said. “The real Kris Kringle comes down, and he’s all upset about the way Christmas has been the last couple years, but he gets inspired by the crowd at Macy’s, and he sees Susan and Doris, and they bring the Christmas spirit back to him.”

“Everybody lives happily ever after, enjoying real Christmas trees and holly berries instead of fake ones,” Kringle added. “It’s a very spirit-filled Christmas story.”

Kringle said he enjoys acting and singing as a hobby, but he stressed that the arts are also an important asset to every community.

“If you look around, in every little community, somebody is going to put a theater group together, and they are going to start doing shows,” he said. “They get the kids, families and community involved.”

The cast of “Miracle on 34th Street” is made up of local folks, half of them children.

“We usually try to get as many kids involved as possible, but this one is definitely more,” said director Justine Blackmon. “It’s a happy-go-lucky Christmas story. You have to have kids.”

This is the theater group’s 16th season and second Christmas musical. Last year it performed “White Christmas.”

Blackmon said the theater board wanted to present a story that was familiar to most people.

“It’s hard to get people into the theater, but if they recognize a story, it’s a lot easier,” she said. “Since most people are familiar with the film, it’s a name that attracts people.”

The stage version “Miracle on 34th Street” debuted on Broadway in 1963.

Knopf: 919-829-8955

Want to go?

Show dates and times: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20-21 and 3 p.m. Nov. 22.

Location: W.J. Barefoot Auditorium, 303 East Church St., Benson.

Ticket prices: $12 for adults and $5 for children age 9 and younger. To reserve tickets, call the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce: 919-894-3825 Tickets will also be available at the door.

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