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Miracle on 34th Street. The songs in this show are workable but not inspired, and much of the script is taken directly from the 1947 movie of the same name that made little Natalie Wood a star. Though it feels odd in this day and age to hear romantic hero Fred address Doris, the woman he's coming to love, as a "dumb little dame," the story still has some charm and punch. Yes, you know cynical little Susan, who's been taught by her embittered divorced mother Doris not to entertain magical or romantic reveries, will be won over by Fred, the gallant Marine who lives next door, and later by Kris Kringle, the portly, white-bearded gentleman who insists he's the real Santa Claus. But it's still fun to watch it happen — and who doesn't want to believe that generosity and goodwill can overcome all obstacles, especially at Christmas? Erick Devine exudes kindliness and humanity as Kringle, and his rich baritone warms you to the soul. When he says he really is Santa Claus, you don't doubt it for a moment. And Lauren Shealy deploys a fine soprano as Doris. Director Gavin Mayer has found several wonderfully appealing youngsters for his cast: Regan Fenske is grave, serious and entirely professional as skeptical Susan; six-year-old Ashlyn Faith Williams is touching as Hendrika, a lonely Dutch adoptee whom Kringle addresses in her own language. As for Nate Kissingford's little Tommy, who innocently destroys his DA father's entire case against Kringle in the courtroom — you just want to squeeze the puddin' out of him, as the old folks used to say. Presented by the Arvada Center through December 23, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada, 720-898-7200, Reviewed December 6.

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