Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus musical. Here's Love, Meredith Willson's adaptation of "Miracle on 34th Street," flopped on Broadway in the 1962-63 season, despite The Music Man composer's credentials, Michael Kidd's choreography and a set design by Mame's William and Jean Eckert that recreated the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the show's opening moments.
Today Here's Love is rarely revived, but the Lark Theatre Company will give it a New York airing Dec. 17 with a starry Broadway cast including two-time Tony Award nominees Crista Moore (Big, Gypsy) and Mary Testa (42nd Street, On the Town) and Tony winner Chuck Cooper (The Life). One member of the original Broadway cast, former Nederlander chief executive Arthur Rubin, will trade in his 1962 role of Tammany O'Halloran for that of department store head R.H. Macy.
Based on the 1947 George Seaton film "Miracle on 34th Street," Here's Love tells the story of an extremely realistic young girl and her cynical mother, both of whom learn to believe in miracles through a Macy's seasonal employee named Kris Kringle. Kris actually thinks he's Santa Claus, sparking a controversy that takes him to all the way to the New York City courts. But can a man prove before the law that he really is St. Nicholas? Songs in the score include "Arm in Arm," "Pine Cones and Holly Berries," "Look, Little Girl," "That Man Over There," the patter song "She Hadda Go Back" and a Willson march, "Here's Love."
Joining Moore, Testa and Cooper are Robert Creighton, Ann Harada, James Stovall (The Rocky Horror Show, Ragtime), William Michals, Ray DeMattis and Jeff Blumenkrantz (A Class Act, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying).
Honorary co-chairs of the event are Wit's Kathleen Chalfant, Dodgers producer Michael David and librettist and playwright Arthur Kopit. Thom Christopher will host. Here's Love will benefit the Lark Theatre Company, producers of over 250 workshops per year and the Off-Broadway hit Pera Palas. Tickets are $250 (with dinner), $150 and $75. The Lucille Lortel Theatre is located at 121 Christopher Street. For reservations, call (212) 246 2676.
— By Christine Ehren