Hannah McCarthy

“White Christmas” a flurry of holiday romance at the Marcus Center

The touring production retells the story of Irving Berlin's 1954 original, with a new book by David Ives and Paul Blake.

By - Nov 25th, 2013 10:46 am

white-christmas-marcus-center-show-detailHave you ever spent a Christmas in Vermont? This year, it’s right around the corner with Irving Berlin’s classic musical White Christmas at the Marcus Center. Join the performing duo of Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, played by James Clowe and David Elder, as they turn the Colombia Inn on its ear.

Run by their former WWII commander Major General Thomas F. Waverly, the Colombia Inn is struggling to make ends meet. General Waverley books a singing sister act to perform for the holidays. When the boys meet Betty and Judy Haynes, played by Trista Moldovan and Meredith Patterson, they follow them to Vermont for a little holiday romance. However, their plans turn into a epic endeavor to save the inn and lift the spirits of their beloved General.

This stage production has all the memorable moments from the 1954 movie, which was first at the box office when it came out. However, writers David Ives and Paul Blake created a separate book for the musical, which varies slightly from the original. Never fear: old favorite songs like “Count Your Blessings” and the title number are unchanged. Ives and Blake have just added special touches for the stage, including a new musical number, “Blue Skies.” Audiences are in for little treats throughout no matter how many times they’ve seen the movie.

Joseph Costa, who has been playing General Waverley for the past three years, says that finding his character has little to do with the movie. Costa is no stranger to the military as he began his acting career after his time in Vietnam. “It’s in the text,” explains Costa, who said his rendition of the General is equal parts his own and inspiration from his predecessors. His personal favorite General was played by David Ogden Stiers of M.A.S.H. fame.

Costa explained that the show itself contains the magic of Christmas. He mentioned that Paramount originally wanted Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire after their success in Holliday Inn, but clearly hit their mark with Danny Kaye instead. So too is the stage play open to new faces. With a touching story and memorable music, this show is clearly built for success.

“The young couples get together, and the older couple get together too. What more could you want?” jokes Costa about his character’s romance with his concierge, played by Ruth Williamson.

This production features new producers and dance numbers choreographed by Broadway veterans. With new producers, dance numbers choreographed by Broadway veterans and an adaptation that never strays from the beloved original, trust that this production of White Christmas will be as fresh as a batch of grandma’s Christmas cookies.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas runs from November 26 – December 1 at The Marcus Center’s Uihlein Hall. Tickets start at $30 and are available online. Weekday performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Weekend performances include a matinee and an evening performance, with times varying each day.

Categories: Music, Theater

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