Crowd watches 1947 show

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


Is he a nice old man who is insane or is he really Santa Claus?

While the story ?Miracle on 34th Street? began as a motion picture, the Lux Radio Theater hosted a radio adaption of the story in 1947. On Saturday night, in conjunction with the annual Showcasing the Nights of Washington (SNOW) event in downtown Washington, 27 of the Washington Community Theater players gathered in the front window of the Washington Public Library to put on a performance of the holiday classic. Simultaneously the performance was broadcast both locally and on the Internet through out the country.

?We had a great turnout last year,? director Chris Hanson said. ?The weather this year is going to be even better than it was last year. We have had numerous people ask us if we are going to do it again this year. We decided we wanted to do it again.?

Hanson said this is the second year the troupe had performed a live streamed play during the SNOW. He said the radio play will more than likely be back next year, although it hasn?t been determined what play will be performed.

He said one of the hardest parts of creating the holiday play is finding a script that can fit into exactly the one hour of time allowed for the performance. Immediately after the radio show was over, Santa Claus visited the square to illuminate the outlines of the buildings. He said sometimes the script had to be customized to make time for the advertisements between the acts.

The play centers on a department store Santa Claus who claims to be the real thing. As he interacts with many of the other characters, he begins to teach a no-nonsense department store promoter and her daughter the true meaning of Christmas. Along the way the promoter?s would-be boyfriend ends up defending Santa in court during a sanity hearing.

?That is the mystery of the show right there,? Logan Hanson, 17, who played Kris Kringle in the performance, said when asked if his character was really Santa.

Chris Hanson said one of the exciting things about the performance is that people can listen online and that he has heard from people as far away as Germany who listened to last year?s performance. He also received emails from people in Texas, Georgia and Colorado who heard the performance.

As the time of the performance drew closer, Chris Hanson said that he hopes the event can become a yearly event during the annual lighted parade.

?We have had five practices and now it is showtime,? Chris Hanson said as the ?On Air? light in the window turned on.