'Miracle on South Division Street' is heartwarming holiday show

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Although Karen Brotherton is the oldest of three children in real life, she gets where her middle-child character comes from in Miracle on South Division Street, Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre’s upcoming production.

The Nowak Family has a problem in the Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre comedy Miracle On South Division Street. It seems there is an alternate explanation for the "family miracle" next door, which Ruthie tries to explain to her mother and siblings. The show stars Erica Badke (from left), Sara Bryan, Ed Janostak and Karen Brotherton.  SPECIAL
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The Nowak Family has a problem in the Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre comedy Miracle On South Division Street. It seems there is an alternate explanation for the "family miracle" next door, which Ruthie tries to explain to her mother and siblings. The show stars Erica Badke (from left), Sara Bryan, Ed Janostak and Karen Brotherton.

Despite the fact that all three of the siblings are now adults, they revert to their childhood pecking order when they get together on Christmas Eve.

“She’s clamoring to get them all to listen and focus,” said Brotherton, who plays Ruth Nowak. “The oldest is content to do what she wants to do, and the baby brother is happy–go–lucky.”

But Ruth has a story that she wants people to hear. She’s so passionate about it that she plans to write a one-woman play, which tells the true and untold story about the Christmas miracle next door.

Ruth’s mother, Clara, runs a soup kitchen and tends to a 20-foot shrine to the Virgin Mary. The shrine, which is adjacent to the Nowak house, commemorates the visitation of the Virgin Mary to Clara’s father in his barber shop in 1942.

“She knows the ‘real story,’ ” said Brotherton, who was drawn into the script from the beginning. “I kept turning the pages faster and faster” she said about her first read of the script. “I’m one of three kids so I recognize the family dynamics.”

The rehearsal schedule has been tighter on this show with less time to prepare than with other shows, she said, but the actors had a chemistry that was evident from the earliest rehearsals. Laughter ensued from the beginning.

It’s the family relationships, the actors’ onstage chemistry and the quirky storyline that will make for a fun and heartwarming holiday event, said director Steve Walpert.

“It’s a charming show that audiences like,” he said.

Written by Tom Dudzick, Miracle on South Division Street ran off-Broadway in 2009. Dudzick has also penned other plays including Over The Tavern, which was presented at Fort Gordon in 2008, and a show called Greetings, which was also staged at Fort Gordon about two decades ago.

Miracle on South Division Street will be staged Nov. 15-16, 22-23 and Dec. 5-7. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m., followed by the show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45 for civilians; $43-$35 for military and $30 for the show only.

For reservations, call (706) 793-8552 or visit www.fortgordon.com.

ONSTAGE

WHAT: Miracle on South Division Street

WHEN: Nov. 15-16, 22-23, Dec. 5-7; dinner 7 p.m., show 8 p.m.

WHERE: Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre

TICKETS: $35-$45; $30 for show only; (706) 793-8552, www.fortgordon.com


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