Chaucer’s Pardoner in the Canterbury Tales was far from the only shyster peddling fake relics of saints in the Middle Ages: Long before the Internet made it easy for images of the Virgin Mary in a burnt grilled-cheese sandwich or Jesus on a rusting oil tank to go viral, people all over the Christian world have been reporting dubious miraculous visitations.
Here’s the gist of Tom Dudzick’s comedy Miracle on South Division Street, which opens on Friday, July 15 at Shadowland Stages in Ellenville: Clara Nowack and her three grown children reside in Buffalo, right next to a 20-foot-tall shrine of the Blessed Mother that commemorates the appearance of the Virgin at their grandfather’s barbershop in 1942. The shrine anchors the neighborhood’s religious beliefs, but when daughter Ruth, an actress, weaves the family miracle tale into a one-woman play, everything comes crumbling down with a deathbed confession. Directed by Shadowland’s producing artistic director, Brendan Burke, Miracle on South Division Street stars Jodie Lynne McClintock as Clara, Susan Slotoroff as Ruth, Kathy McCafferty as Beverly and Dan Mian as Jimmy.
Tickets cost $39 for evening performances, which begin at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, $34 for 2 p.m. matinées on Sundays and $29 for the First Saturday matinée on July 16, also at 2 p.m. Shadowland Stages, a gorgeously renovated Art Deco vaudeville theater where every seat is close to the stage, is located at 157 Canal Street in Ellenville. Tickets can be reserved by calling the box office at (845) 647-5511 or online at www.shadowlandtheatre.org.