Miracle on 34th Street: Saying Goodbye

The end of a show is always bittersweet. On the one hand, the thirty-two talented actors in "Miracle on 34th Street" have spent an awful lot of time together since September. They've spent an awful lot of time away from their families, friends, favorite TV shows, and other holiday activities. They've braved blizzards to put on their show. They've passed the flu around, and the show has gone on.

On the other hand, one of the most compelling, interesting, heartwarming reasons to do theatre is the relationships you form with your fellow actors. Sometimes you've known them for a long time, but discover something new. Sometimes it's a person you've never met, and probably wouldn't have met had you not both been crazy enough to audition for the same show. Whatever it is, you find a spark, a connection, a commonality that draws you together, and hopefully remains once the show closes.

Saying goodbye is always the hardest part of closing a show for me. As a director, I try to draw away as soon as the show opens. My job is, after all, done. It's a good director's obligation to give the product to the actors and the stage manager and fade away into fond memory. That's easier said than done. I've grown to appreciate all thirty-two of these wonderful actors. I marvel at their passion and their dedication. I will miss them now that the show is closing.

Like you (I hope), I will remember their performances and their passion, and that will be one more gift to be grateful for this holiday season.

Ready Or Not...

Tonight, the cast of "Miracle on 34th Street" steps before its first official audience. It's been gratifying to me, and to them, I think, to have the few spectators who have wandered through tech week actually laughing at the jokes and appreciating the moments we have worked so hard to create. For those of you who don't know, "tech week" is extremely difficult for everyone. The designers and technicians are doing a lot of tough work in an extremely limited amount of time. The crews are adjusting to corrections being thrown at them constantly. The stage manager is removed from his seat right up front and put in a dark, lonely booth, connected only by a head set to the rest of the action.

And the actors. Poor things. They're trying to remember everything we've worked so hard on for the last four or five weeks, plus seeing lights, hearing sound effects, moving furniture pieces, and wearing costumes for the first time. Every time I direct a show, I marvel at how well everyone adjusts to tech week. I always secretly wonder if I do as good a job when I'm acting as the people I'm seeing in front of me. I doubt it.

The nights have been late, the tensions have been high, and the challenges have been escalating.

All those things only make me admire the thirty-two people you're going to see in "Miracle on 34th Street." They're telling this rich, warm story in a spare style that emphasizes the humanity and simple charm. They're working so hard and making it look so easy.

So I hope tonight's audience really likes the show. But even if they don't, I do.