The Minnesota run features one of two Broadway-style productions that were rehearsed concurrently in New York City this fall (under the direction of Marc Bruni and Walter Bobbie) and sent to the Midwest. A Detroit production is already running, at the Fox Theatre, to Dec. 30.
The musical comedy is drawn from the 1954 motion picture that boasts a score by Irving Berlin. And, yes, it will "snow" inside the theatres.
This new, splashy Bobbie-directed version of the property began in San Francisco in 2004, and spread to three concurrent markets in 2005. Some tweaks were made to the book and score this fall, two years after the initial production.
White Christmas plays the Ordway Center to Jan. 7, 2007. The commercial staging will resurface in other markets in 2007 (Boston, for one).
The property (the script/score) is now licensable and surfacing in regional runs staged by independent producers as well, but the Bobbie show is, for now, considered the high-profile flagship version of the show. The St. Paul cast includes John Antony as Ralph Sheldrake, Stephen Bogardus as Bob Wallace (the Bing Crosby role), Jeffry Denman as Phil Davis (the Danny Kaye role), Melody Hollis as Susan, Kerry O'Malley as Betty Haynes (the Rosemary Clooney role), David Ogden Stiers ("M*A*S*H") as General Waverly, Kristen Beth Williams as Judy Haynes (the Vera Ellen role) and Ruth Williamson as Martha Watson, with Kelli Barclay, Colin Bradbury, Robin Campbell, Erin Crouch, Lianne Marie Dobbs, Lois Enders, J. Austin Eyer, Chad Harlow, Michael Thomas Holmes, Matt Kilgore, Matt Kirk, Cara Kjellman, Denis Lambert, Melissa Lone, Carly Maitlin, Ritchie Mastascusa, Jennifer Mathie, Denise Nolin, James Patterson, Richard Pruitt, Lisa Ramey, Denis Lambert, Matt Schneider, Kelly Sheehan, Melissa WolfKlain and Kevin Worley.
The musical tells the story of two showbiz buddies (and World War II vets) putting on a show in a picturesque Vermont inn run by their former commanding officer. They also find mates (a sister act, no less) in the process.
The score includes tunes from the film of the same name, and from the extensive Berlin catalog.
White Christmas features a book by David Ives and Paul Blake, choreography by Randy Skinner (42nd Street), set design by Anna Louizos (Avenue Q), costumes by Carrie Robbins (A Class Act), lighting design by Ken Billington (Annie), sound design by Acme Sound Partners (The Boy From Oz), orchestrations by Larry Blank, vocal and additional arrangements by Bruce Pomahac, music direction by Rob Berman and casting by Jay Binder C.S.A.
The stage production is based on the Paramount Pictures film, written for the screen by Norman Krasna, Norman Panama and Melvin Frank.
For more information, visit www.whitechristmasthemusical.com.
A cast recording of the score of the new production was released by Ghostlight Records Oct. 17.