Photo: Andrew McMurtrie Frank Murphy played by Chase McElroy, left, and his father played by Chuck Mason proform in the New Dawn Theater Company's production of "Dads Christmas Miracle" Tuesday in Duluth.
IF YOU GO
• What: “Dad’s Christmas Miracle”
• When: Today through Sunday, Dec. 8-11, 15-18
• Where: New Dawn Theater, 3087 Main St., Duluth
• Cost: $10 - $15
• For more information: Visit www.newdawntheate...
DULUTH -- Christmas time is here and nothing brings families closer together than holiday stress, mindless arguing and presents under the tree. New Dawn Theater presents "Dad's Christmas Miracle" written by Pat Cook with all of the usual hectic holiday elements that everyone can relate to, plus many laughs and memories. The show runs through the first three weekends in December.
"I'm personally glad that it's an uplifting play because ... I don't like to see sadness through the holidays," Kari Hefner, co-director said. "This is a very cheerful and sweet play and I love that about it."
It starts in present-day with Conner Murphy (played by John Laszio), now a grandfather talking with his two granddaughters, Mandy (Megan Heath) and Misty (Demi Lehman). The girls wonder if grandpa ever got in trouble as a kid, and he has quite the tale to tell.
Murphy takes the audience through his Christmas when he was in sixth grade. His teacher, Miss McLaughlin (Maria Krohn) still haunts him to this day, but he reminisces about spending time with his two best friends Neil (David Heath) and Tater (Audrey Paulsen). The trio always get into trouble in class, but stick by each other's sides through thick and thin.
The story revolves around young Conner (George Peters) who is trying to get a go-kart for Christmas, but his grades aren't the best and he keeps getting in mischief.
"You'll never get a go-kart," Neil always tells him.
Every day leading up to Christmas, he tries to make things right, which only puts himself further in the doghouse with his father (Chuck Mason), who tries to teach his 11-year-old son the simple lessons in life.
"In fact, I told my son to come see the play because he will remember me saying a lot of the same things (that are said to young Conner)," Mason said about his role. "I was an only child, but I can still relate because my parents said the same things to me."
Adult Conner doesn't want to face the past because it still makes him very upset. He did something to one of his friends that he hasn't forgiven himself for, even in adulthood. Many people can relate to keeping the past in the past.
"Well, I've not had a role that I've had to do so much exposition narrative -- that's really different," Laszio said. "A lot of my interaction was with my memory and not with anyone else, so it was different. It's an odd sensation to face the past or try not to face the past, which is another interesting thing about the role."
When young Conner is finally grounded through Christmas, he expected more underwear and socks as gifts, but in the end, there is a small Christmas miracle that makes the day perfect for the entire family.
One thing Hefner would like the audience to walk away with is, "When you're with family and special things happen, do not to take it for granted. Remember it and keep it in your heart. You never know when you'll need those memories later."