The magic of Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade sparks the holiday cheer in New Yorkers and viewers around the world. With Santa making an appearance at the end of the parade, it marks the beginning of Christmas and time to blow the dust off of your caroling booklets. To help you begin tapping into your holiday cheer, this #MusicalMonday we’ll be singing along to Here’s Love’s cast album playlist, which perfectly captures a child’s wonder and belief in the magic of Christmas and Chris Kringle himself.
Meredith Willson returned to Broadway in 1963 with Here’s Love, a musical treatment of that perennial year-end crowd-pleaser, Miracle on 34th Street, the 1947 Yuletide fantasy that had introduced Natalie Wood to adoring audiences. The story of a moppet who lives with her divorced mother, and who firmly believes that the nice Mr. Kringle who impersonates Macy’s Santa is the real thing, the setup seemed the perfect occasion for the composer to deliver one of his trademark signatures, a showstopping march in duple rhythm, a technique he had acquired in his youth when he spent three years in the band of John Philip Sousa. Willson didn’t disappoint – the opening number, “The Big Clown Balloons/Parade,” was a whopping ten-minute exuberant march, enhanced by Michael Kidd’s ebullient choreography, that augured well for the rest of the evening. If the remainder of the score didn’t yield equally magical musical moments, one, “Pine Cones and Holly Berries,” eventually found its way to the Christmas repertoire as an occasional anthem. With a cast that included Janis Paige, Craig Stevens, Laurence Naismith as Santa, and Fred Gwynne, Here’s Love opened at the Shubert Theatre on October 3, 1963, for a comfortable run of 388 performances.