A Picture Print by Ives: Wonderful Town Pen Added to Musical White Christmas List

News   A Picture Print by Ives: Wonderful Town Pen Added to Musical White Christmas List David Ives — who adapted the script for Broadway's current revival Wonderful Town — has joined the creative team behind the upcoming stage musical White Christmas, based on the 1954 Irving Berlin movie.
David Ives
David Ives Photo by Ernio Hernandez

The playwright is rewriting the script to the musical based on the new book Paul Blake penned for the world premiere of the stage adaptation at St. Louis' The Muny.

Ives, known for his comedies, All in the Timing, Polish Joke and Mere Mortals and Others, has already adapted 12 classic American musicals for City Center's Encores! Series. Among the titles include The Pajama Game, Strike Up the Band, Do Re Mi, The Boys From Syracuse, Out of This World, The New Moon and Pardon My English. He is currently at work on Disney's upcoming The Little Mermaid stage musical.

Blake first approached the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization about adapting the Berlin material (the rights and use of which is overseen by R&H) for The Muny staging — which starred Karen Mason and Lee Roy Reams. Blake serves as executive producer of Missouri's Muny where he has produced, directed and wrote the world premieres of Sleeping Beauty (with songs by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and P.G. Wodehouse), Three Coins in the Fountain (songs by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne) and Roman Holiday (songs by Cole Porter). He has also penned a new book and will direct the upcoming Muny presentation of Breakfast at Tiffany's, July 19-25.

Producers Kevin McCollum and Jeffrey Seller (the team behind Avenue Q, La Bohème and Rent) will present White Christmas at San Francisco's Curran Theatre as directed by Walter Bobbie (Twentieth Century, Chicago).

Busy Bobbie will squeeze the production in before heading off to tend to his duties on the upcoming Broadway revival of Sweet Charity. The holiday musical will begin previews on Nov. 2, according to the director, for a run through January. Douglas Schmidt (Into the Woods) is slated to design the set. Randy Skinner (42nd Street) will handle choreography.

The 1954 film "White Christmas" centers on the story of two former WWII Army vets who team up for a song-and-dance act. The duo soon meet up with a sister song-and-dance act and head to a Vermont lodge to perform a Christmas show. The lodge happens to be owned by the boys' former general.

The musical comedy starred Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera Ellen and Rosemary Clooney singing such Berlin songs as "The Best Things Happen When You're Dancing," "Sisters," "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep," "Mandy," "Geee! I Wish I Was Back in the Army," "Snow," "Choreography," "What Can You Do With a General?" and the classic title song.

The plan for the stage musical is to make it a holiday tradition in the vein of A Christmas Carol. The work will debut at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco — where such Broadway-bound stagings as La Bohème and Wicked have played in recent years — among other New York-aiming works this season including Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance, Jerry Springer: The Opera and the musical Lennon.

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