This hilarious play centers around the madcap Nowak family, who had immigrated from Poland with their infant daughter, Clara, in 1940 during the Nazi invasion.
The family settled in the Buffalo area and the father became a barber. One night he announces a “Miracle” in a vision of the Holy Mother and creates a statue in his shop on Division Street to commemorate this event. People come from all around to see the statue and hear about the “Miracle.” The opening act jumps to 2010 and Clara (Nell Page) has a grown family, Ruth (Jackie Schram), Jimmy (Niall McGinty) and Beverly (Laura Shatkus). Ruth has called a family meeting for an important announcement about the statue. Before her meeting, Jimmy announces he is going to propose to his girlfriend, who happens to be Jewish. Clara has a “Tizzy Fit.”
Ruth has finally declared she has “quit” the Catholic church, but she also has a secret, and Beverly is dating an ex priest (only because he refused the oath of celibacy, as he liked girls). At the close of act one, Ruth declares, “There is no miracle. The statue is of grandpa’s old girlfriend, Isabella, from Poland, according to a death-bed confession of Clara’s mother.”
Act two is a real turnaround for the family and the conclusion needs to be seen. The interaction of all equity actors is superb and the plethora of one-line “zingers” will keep you laughing.
“Miracle on South Division Street” runs through March 24 at The Hippodrome Theater in Gainesville and is one not to be missed. Tickets available on line at thehipp.org.
Villager Donald Simson reviews local theater for Villages-News.com