Alhambra continues holiday tradition with 'Miracle on 34th Street'


It is not hard to look around and know that the holidays are upon us, as holiday-inspired decorations and events begin to pop up throughout the First Coast.

However, one of the iconic local holiday traditions is the Christmas show at the Alhambra Theatre & Dining in Jacksonville, and this year’s showcase is the classic tale of "Miracle on 34th Street."

Director Shain Stroff combined a show that was inspired by the book, music and lyrics of Meredith Willson and the motion picture story by Valentine Davies and screenplay by George Seaton, and it was a story that so many in the audience were already very familiar with and anxious to see.

One of the main characters was Susan Walker, who is the child who builds a relationship and a growing belief in Santa throughout the show. The role was played by Kat DeCicco, who took to the Alhambra stage for the second time this year, as she also played “Chip” in Beauty and the Beast.

DeCicco did an excellent job with her performance both in the acting and singing portions of the show.

One of the stars of the show was Pete Clapsis, who played Kris Kringle, and did a fabulous job of bringing the character to life from beginning to end.

Clapsis has been part of many Alhambra shows in the past, including playing the wizard in "The Wizard of Oz," and he always does an excellent job of providing an abundance of personality to the characters he portrays.

Other major characters included Sarah Middough as Doris Walker and Matthew Johnson as Fred Gailey. It was Middough’s fourth appearance at the Alhambra and the 40th for Johnson, who is from the area, and did his first show at the theatre in 1997.

One thing about shows at the Alhambra is that they lead to people from outside the area playing roles, and one of those for "Miracle on 34th Street" is Kole Mitchell McKinley, who plays Marvin Shellhammer.

McKinley lives in New York City but is spending his holidays in Jacksonville performing in "Miracle on 34th Street," which held its opening night on Nov. 16 and will run through Christmas Eve.

There are five children with roles in the play, which provides a good amount of youthful exuberance and adds to the overall experience, which is already captured so well the holiday vibes resonating throughout the theatre, from the decorations in the lobby to the Christmas music that plays over the speakers during intermission.

The show is sold out for this year, as the holiday specials are always a fan favorite, however, next year’s show listings have been released and the show will be another classic, in the form of "A Christmas Story, The Musical."