Radio play inspires a little Santa in everyone

Radio play inspires a little Santa in everyone


The classic holiday film “Miracle on 34th Street” has become a Christmas tradition for many people. This holiday season, fans of the story will get a chance to hear it in a new way when Northwest Arkansas Audio Theater performs it as a classic radio drama — complete with ads for Lux soap.

“I think it goes back to what we believe about Christmas — that it’s a time that we can all do good things for people, we can all be Santa Claus,” says director Laurie Anderson of the enduring popularity of the story. “It’s a happy show, overall. There is a psychiatrist who is kind of the villain, because he commits Santa Claus to an institution, but other than that, everyone is trying to do good things for each other.”

The story centers around a woman and her daughter and what happens when they meet Santa Claus at Macy’s — the real Santa Claus, according to the man with the white, snowy beard.

“[Doris Walker] is a single mom trying to raise her daughter to not believe in anything that’s fantasy or fiction, because she was so hurt when she broke up with her husband,” explains Anderson. “And if you never believe in fantasy or fiction, you can never be hurt. But as the story goes on, Doris learns that you can love people and believe in people, and it’s OK to believe in a little bit of fantasy because, sometimes, it really does come true.”

Maureen O’Hara originated the role of Doris Walker in the 1947 movie, as well as in the radio version Northwest Arkansas Audio Theater is using, which also aired in 1947. The original radio show included interviews with the actors at the end, and the Northwest Arkansas Audio Theater actors will be performing those interviews, too.

“So our actors that are playing those roles are having to actually do dual roles,” says Anderson.

Anderson says the show is appropriate for all ages.

“I think it’s a fun show — it will get you in the mood for Christmas!” she says, and then adds that audiences might just decide that “they can be a Santa Claus, too.”



‘Miracle on 34th Street’

WHEN — 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20-21 & 2 p.m. Dec. 21

WHERE — Arts Center of the Ozarks, 214 S. Main St. in Springdale

COST — $5-$12


Categories: Theater