Celebrate the Magic of Christmas with The Gifts of the Magi at Walnut Street Theatre

-Brenda Hillegas
Photo by Mark Garvin

The season of giving, celebrating love and family, and spreading happiness and kindness to others is almost upon us. To get yourself and your loved ones into the Christmas spirit, head over to Walnut Street Theatre’s intimate Independence Studio on 3 for a musical version of O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi.

In The Gifts of the Magi, playing now through December 22nd, we meet a young married couple- Della and Jim Dillingham- who are close to penniless during the holidays in early 1900s New York City. The loving couple is played by Alanna J. Smith (also seen this season in Walnut Street’s production of Young Frankenstein) and Sean Thompson (who made his Walnut debut last year in Legally Blonde). Each song they sing- whether solo or together- is sweet and sincere.

To pack on the spirit of Christmas, the show introduces us to other characters who interact with Della and Jim on a regular basis throughout the streets of their city. Actors Amanda Jill Robinson and Jamison Foreman play instruments in some scenes and take on various roles to move the story along. Bill Van Horn plays the cheerful bum, Soapy Smith, who just wants to be arrested so he can spend a warm night in jail. His hilariously attempts are a highlight of the show. Malcolm Bishop, playing the narrator role of Willy Porter, helps bring the story to life (and has a beautiful voice).

As Christmas Eve approaches, Della and Jim struggle with the possibility of not being able to buy presents for one another. They both reluctantly give up something of meaning and importance in order to get the gifts. But at what cost? Are tangible and sometimes expensive gifts really what is needed to make your loved ones happy? The Gifts of the Magi reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas.

The Gifts of the Magi, which debuted off-Broadway over 40 years ago, is just around 80 minutes long and it’s the perfectly sized dose of Christmas magic to get you in the mood for December (we’re almost there). Before you make your shopping lists and get flooded with sales ads of all kinds, take some time to see The Gifts of the Magi at Walnut Street Theatre. You’ll leave the theatre feeling excited and ready for the most wonderful time of the year. 

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