Brian d'Arcy James To Star in Upcoming White Christmas Musical

News   Brian d'Arcy James To Star in Upcoming White Christmas Musical Sweet Smell of Success star Brian d'Arcy James is set to star in the role Bing Crosby made famous in the upcoming stage musical White Christmas, based on the 1954 Irving Berlin movie.
Brian d'Arcy James
Brian d'Arcy James

The actor seen on Broadway in Titanic and Carousel as well as Off Broadway in The Wild Party and Floyd Collins will play half of a song and-dance act as Bob Wallace, according to a production spokesperson.

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).

David Ives (All in the Timing, Wonderful Town) 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.

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 — where he serves as executive producer.

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. Anna Louizos 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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