Each tells a tale of Christmas set in a Macy’s department store. One is earnest and uplifting, and involves a real Santa mistaken for a fake one. The other is less so, and centers on an elf no one would ever mistake for the real thing.
Both make their way to the Greater Red Bank Green this weekend.
It was a newly postwar America that spawned the 1947 movie classic Miracle on 34th Street — a Hollywood fable which, along with its contemporary It’s a Wonderful Life, argued the importance of continuing to believe in such things as guardian angels and right jolly old elves.
George Seaton’s Oscar-winning tale of Kris Kringle at large in mid-century New York City — and a cosmopolitan kid who could use a helping of that Christmas magic — has been remade several times. Less well-known, however, is its adaptation as a “live radio play,” which gets an airing this weekend as the season’s final offering from the Middletown-based Stone Church Players, with troupe co-founder Michael McClellan, above right, in the lead role.
Performances are Friday and Saturday, December 4 and 5 at 8 pm (with a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, December 6) at All Saints’ Memorial — the historic “Old Stone Church” at the junction of Navesink and Monmouth Avenues. Admission ($10) benefits a variety of community outreach organizations, including AACC Food Pantry in Atlantic Highlands, St. Mark’s Kitchen and Pantry in Keansburg, Family Promise, Love Inc., and the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Reserve by calling (732) 291-0214.
We interrupt this “Season of Suspense,” say Middletown’s Monmouth Players, for a Soupçon of Sedaris — the wildly popular humorist and storyteller Davis Sedaris that is, whose memoir of merry misery, The SantaLand Diaries, was adapted by playwright Joe Mantelo into a comic confection that appears as a late-add stocking stuffer on the Players’ 2015 schedule.
The author’s tale — based on his experience working as a Santa’s-helper in a Macy’s Christmas display — plays at 8:15 p.m. Saturdays (December 5 and 12) plus 2 p.m. Sundays (December 6 and 13) at the Navesink Arts Center — the reborn and rebranded former Navesink Library at Monmouth and Sears Avenues in Middletown.
Reserve tickets (at a discount-priced $15) here or by calling (732) 291-9211. And watch for the Players’ famous spread of homemade desserts, a vision to rival the most dazzling of dancing sugarplums.
The Season of Suspense slate resumes at Navesink Arts in February 2016, with Maxwell Anderson’s classic chiller The Bad Seed.