December 2006

Irving Berlin's "White Christmas"

Author: Marie McAden

The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina is calling for snow this Christmas—no shoveling required. Irving Berlin’s White Christmas comes to the stage of the Elizabeth Wallace Theatre Dec. 6-31, offering audiences all the fun and none of the fuss of a winter wonderland.

Based on the 1950s movie classic, the show features 25 of Berlin’s best-loved songs, including “Blue Skies”, “Count Your Blessings”, “Sisters” and, of course, the famous title song.

“It’s a veritable Christmas feast of Irving Berlin tunes,” said New York director Russ Treyz, who directed last year’s acclaimed production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Arts Center, and Neil Simon’s Proposals the year before. “You’re treated to one wonderful production number after another.”

Following the plot of the popular film that starred Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, the musical tells the story of a couple of GIs-turned-Broadway stars who meet with the also-musical Haynes Sisters while on their way to a Christmas gig in Miami. Smitten with the girls, the two decide to change plans and trail the ladies to their own singing date at a struggling Vermont Inn. Much to their surprise, the owner of the inn turns out to be their ex-commanding officer. In an effort to save the inn from bankruptcy, the guys hatch a plot to stage a Christmas show with the sister act.

The Arts Center production will serve as the regional premiere of the holiday musical. Teaming up with Treyz is choreographer D.J. Salisbury, another Arts Center regular whose credits include Annie Get Your Gun, Man of La Mancha and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

“We’re bringing in a top-notch ensemble of actors for this production,” Treyz said. “They all sing, act and dance extraordinarily well.”

A vintage show filled with beautiful scenery, upbeat songs and high-energy dancing, White Christmas will put the grumpiest of grinches in the holiday spirit. The movie’s dreamy setting and pure heart won over audiences, raking in more money than any picture released in 1954.

“It’s like the old Hollywood films,” Treyz said. “You’ve got a fun story with wonderful production numbers. It’s the kind of show everyone will enjoy.”

Performances of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas are at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday, Dec. 23, and Sunday performances at 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 10 and 17. Tickets are $41 ($38 for Dec. 6 and 7 previews), $27 for children under 16 ($25 for the previews), and may be purchased at the Arts Center box office or by phone with a credit card by calling 842-ARTS (2787).

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