Next weekend — at Youngstown’s Powers Auditorium — will be the 30th run of “Miracle on Easy Street,” which has become an annual holiday tradition.
On a Monday evening at Easy Street Productions’ Mahoning Avenue studio, Maureen Collins — one-half of Easy Street — is running the group known as the Little Rascals through a rehearsal for “Miracle on Easy Street.”
She talked about the history of the show.
“It was just a thought at Christmas time at the Uptown, ‘Well, why don’t we just do a Christmas show?'” she said.
The very first “Miracle on Easy Street” was in 1989 — in the midst of Easy Street’s famous two-year run of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.”
“We said, ‘Hey, let’s do this every year, so that’s how it started,” said Todd Hancock.
Hancock, the other half of Easy Street Productions, Todd said after the Uptown, “Miracle on Easy Street” became so popular that it moved to Stambaugh Auditorium and then to Power’s Auditorium, where it has been for the past 20 years.
“This year, I think is going to be our biggest year yet,” he said. “We’ve got about 150 people involved.”
“Miracle on Easy Street” has also become a highly-technical theatrical production.
“We have to sets of little rascals they share. We have a cast A and a cast B, so they kind of split the performances,” said Hancock. “The dancers are in every performance, and there’s like 60 dancers, so it’s a big deal.”
But even with all of the advancements, something as simple as Maureen’s sing-along still remains in which kids from the audience join her on stage.
“I’ll see kids that were rascals carrying their kids, which I love, you know what I mean?” Collins said. “They’re now parents, because we’ve been doing it 30 years, so you figure there are kids who were rascals that now have rascals.”
“Miracle on Easy Street” is also the most year’s most lucrative show for Easy Street Productions.
“It’s one of the main reasons Easy Street has stayed in business,” Hancock said.
“This is the show that helps us continue on through the year. This is the one that keeps us in business, really,” Collins said.
“Miracle on Easy Street” runs December 14 through the 16 at Youngstown’s Power’s Auditorium. Friday’s show is at 7:30 p.m., Saturday’s shows are at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday’s show is at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets are available online or at the box office during regular business hours.
The auditorium is located at 260 W. Federal St. in Youngstown.