Kris Kringle Takes on Cynics In Beloved Holiday Classic

WHEELING — A treasured holiday classic comes to life on stage at Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Theatre. “Miracle on 34th Street” will be staged for two weekends — Nov. 30-Dec. 1-2, and Dec. 7 and 8.

A talented ensemble of local actors tells the story of how Kris Kringle enchants children and adults, takes on cynics and unleashes waves of goodwill.

In this beloved story, a white-bearded gentleman working as a Macy’s holiday Santa claims to be the REAL Santa Claus. He enchants children and shoppers so completely that he is deemed dangerous by fellow employees, who question his competency and plot to ruin him. A small girl’s belief in Santa and the magic of the holiday is at stake in a climactic courtroom decision.

This funny, tender and charming show is perfect for the entire family.

John Reilly directs the show. Cast members include: Briele Dobson, Alex Fabrizio, Pete Fernbaugh, Robert Gaudio, Reagan Hughes, Elizabeth Jeffers, Patricia Jeffers, Karen Kahle, Karissa Martin, Wayne McCord, Maria McKelvey, Colin Roose, Clare Seibert, Kristin Seibert, Jim Showalter, Justin Swoyer and Frank Wilson.

The production is a true community effort with volunteer actors sharing their time and talents and area businesses providing financial and in-kind support. Unified Bank serves as corporate sponsor for Towngate’s entire 50th season. Macy’s awarded a grant to Towngate for productions of “Miracle on 34th Street” and “The Nutcracker,” which will be staged at Towngate Dec. 22-23.

Macy’s also has partnered with Towngate to provide unique experiences for theatergoers, said Oglebay Institute development director Micah Underwood.

“Macy’s employees assisted with decorating the Towngate Theatre lobby for the holidays and provided a mailbox and postcards for children to write to Santa. Macy’s logos, past and present, will appear on the ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ set and in the toy workshop opening and party scenes of ‘The Nutcracker.’ The store has also donated a fragrance basket for raffle during the run of ‘Miracle on 34th Street,'” Underwood said.

In addition, an exhibit, courtesy of Macy’s and featuring prints of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade balloons, will be on display in The Gallery at Towngate for patrons to view.

“Partnerships with local businesses help the theatre connect in deeper ways with our community. We’re bringing in new audiences and, at the same time, sharing the work of local businesses with our existing patrons. It creates a strong and rich local economic fabric and it’s really a win for everyone involved.”

Towngate is the premiere venue for community theater in Wheeling, providing an intimate theater experience with talented local actors performing in a variety of though-provoking, heartwarming, comedic and historically significant works from renowned playwrights and talented newcomers.

A church-turned-theater, Towngate is located in Wheeling’s historic Centre Market District and serves as an entertainment destination for residents of Wheeling, the Upper Ohio Valley and beyond. In addition to community theater, Towngate also offers poetry and spoken word performances, children’s theater, ballet, improvisational comedy and live music. Towngate is also home to the Wheeling Film Society, art house cinema and features changing art exhibitions in The Gallery at Towngate. Theater classes for children and adults are also offered year-round.

Evening performances of “Miracle on 34th Street” take place at 7 p.m. Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 7 and 8. A matinee performance takes place at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2.

Tickets for this show or any Towngate show can be purchased in advance at or by calling 304-242-7700. Tickets can also be purchased at the door, if available, but some shows will sell out.


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