Monday, May 14, 2012
Miracle on South Division Street
Although their neighborhood is changing rapidly, with stores closing and old friends leaving town, the Nowaks live relatively unchanged lives. Clara maintains a statue of the Holy Mother and operates a soup kitchen. Mellow son Jimmy and energetic daughter Beverly have radically different personalities but the same goals--to be happily married and to bowl on weekends. Daughter Ruth aspires to be an actress and performs small roles in local shows. Their lives go quietly on until Ruth decides to write a one-woman show about the family and forces them to question their assumptions, identity, and the meaning of miracles
Miracle on South Division Street nicely balances humor and genunine life challenges. It starts a little slowly, and perhaps could use a few fewer one-liners, but it is funny and thoughtful. It is particularly good at showing how adults always remain children in their parents' homes. Director Joe Brancato occasionally lets the actors play the jokes instead of the reality but he keeps the show well-paced and -focused. The cast is good; in particular, Peggy Cosgrave as Clara provides a strong, likeable central presence.
Miracle on South Division Street is my favorite type of comedy: you laugh and laugh, but you also shed a tear or two.
(Full disclosure: Tom Dudzick is my brother-in-law.)
(free ticket, 8th row center)