Theatre 98 will make you a believer this holiday


When Macy’s Department Store employee Doris Walker desperately needs someone to play Santa during the annual Thanksgiving Day parade, a man seems to appear out of nowhere to apply for the job.

His belly is round. His whiskers are soft and white. And when the children meet him, they simply know, this is Kris Kringle. The adults however, are not so sure and Santa finds himself on trial to prove his magical identity.

Next weekend Theatre 98 in Fairhope will tell the tale of “Miracle on 34th Street” and remind audiences that the holiday season is a time for magic and love.

“We’re at a point in our society that we need to believe in Santa Claus again,” said Director Jon Robitaille. “We thought this would be a great way to have that whole magical Santa Claus experience.”

Theatre 98 will present the piece as a radio show, meaning the set is minimal and actors will be in 1940s costume but will read their lines while standing still at microphones, as actors did in the days before television when families gathered around the radio for entertainment.

The presentation is engaging and different than other productions hosted throughout the year. It’s also easier for the theatre’s volunteers who sandwich the holiday show between the November annual meeting and set construction for January’s production of “Flight: The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh.”

Be certain however, there is no lack of drama. The actors in this show don’t need a set. They don’t need special lighting or movement to draw you close and make you question all that you once thought was sane, and believe in the impossible.

“I’ve always been fascinated with story tellers,” Robitaille said. “If they’re doing their job as great actors and story tellers you don’t need to see the courtroom. You don’t need to see Macy’s Department Store. They can pull you in and make you feel like you are part of it.”

Be certain, these are master story tellers. When you leave, you will know Kris Kringle is real indeed.

The cast includes Kris Kringle, as himself, Don Roberts, Pat Daynard, Amelia Gilley, Mark Swalley, Lori Dubose, Tami Williams, Anthony LaMarra, Anthony Finch, Micah Janus

Rian Hamby, Noelle Mileski, Audrey Maddison, Shellie Maddison and singers Teri Odell

Jude Mansur, Susan Grace and Kelly Risk. Musical director is Chris Duncan.

The show runs Dec 13 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 14 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets for “Miracle on 34th Street” can be purchased at