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Holiday Highlight — ‘Jonathan Toomey’

(l r) Michael Saguas Thomas McDowell James Rank as Jonathan Toomey  (from 2011 Production) 'The Christmas Miracle Jonathan Toomey'

(l to r) Michael Saguto as Thomas McDowell and James Rank as Jonathan Toomey (from the 2011 Production) in "The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey" at Provision Theater Company. Photographs by John Hockberger

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There are beloved Christmas shows that have been around for decades and then there are the new additions to the annual roster that will certainly reach such status.

“The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey” fits the latter. Adapted by Provision Theater artistic director Timothy Gregory, the musical, which debuted last year, is based on the award-winning children’s book by Susan Wojciechowski. The music and lyrics are by multi-talented company member Michael Mahler (“Hero”).

Set in the 1880s, this 75-minute family show (recommended for ages 7 and up) is the story of a broken-hearted young boy, Thomas McDowell (Michael Saguto), whose father has died. When he and his mother Sarah (Susan Moniz) move in with relatives, he loses the nativity set that was his only remaining link to his father. To reconcile the loss, his mother convinces a reclusive, ill-tempered woodcarver — Jonathan Toomey (James Rank) — to create a replacement.

The commission takes their relationship to unexpected places as the young client makes greater and more difficult demands of the woodcarver’s ability. As Christmas approaches, the three struggle to come to terms with each other, their painful memories and the process of putting their unhappiness behind them.

“The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey” runs through Dec. 23 at Provision Theater, 1001 W. Roosevelt. Tickets are $10-$32. Call (312)455-0066; provisiontheater.org.

—Mary Houlihan



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