Leads Set for Upcoming White Christmas Stage Musical in San Francisco

News   Leads Set for Upcoming White Christmas Stage Musical in San Francisco
 
The Producers' Jeffry Denman and 42nd Street's Meredith Patterson will join Anastasia Barzee and Brian d'Arcy James for the upcoming stage musical White Christmas, based on the 1954 Irving Berlin movie.
Brian D'Arcy James and Anastasia Barzee
Brian D'Arcy James and Anastasia Barzee Photo by Joan Marcus

The Producing Office, Paul Blake, Sonny Everett and Dan Markley in association with Paramount Pictures will present White Christmas at San Francisco's Curran Theatre, Nov. 3-Dec. 26, under the direction of Walter Bobbie (Twentieth Century, Chicago). The opening is set for Nov. 9.

James and Denman will fill the roles made famous by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye opposite Barzee and Patterson who take on the sister roles played by Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen.

The cast will also feature Charles Dean (as General Waverly), Hannah Rose Kornfeld (Susan Waverly), Susan Mansur (Martha Watson), and Jonathan Hadley (Ralph Sheldrake).

David Ives (All in the Timing, Wonderful Town) pens the book to the new Christmas musical based on the Paul Blake's script for the world premiere stage adaptation at St. Louis' The Muny. The original screenplay was written by Norman Krasna, Norman Panama and Melvin Frank.

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. Director Bobbie will squeeze the production in before his upcoming duties on the upcoming Broadway revival of Sweet Charity. Randy Skinner (42nd Street) will handle choreography. Larry Blank provides orchestrations with vocal and dance arrangements by Bruce Pomahac. Rob Berman serves as musical director.

The design team of White Christmas feautres Anna Louizos (set), Carrie Robbins (costume), Ken Billington (lighting) and Acme Sound Partners (sound).

James has been seen on Broadway in Titanic, Blood Brothers and Carousel as well as Off-Broadway in The Wild Party and Floyd Collins. He also appeared in the first national tour of Les Miserables. He was most recently attached the Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's Harmony (in workshop), which is aiming for Broadway.

Barzee recently played as Lady Mortimer in the recent Broadway revival of Henry IV. The actress has also appeared on Broadway in Miss Saigon, Jekyll & Hyde and Urinetown as well as regionally in Merrily We Roll Along (Kennedy Center), Sunset Boulevard, City of Angels, The Most Happy Fella and Anything Goes. She also created the role of Josephine in Napoleon in London's West End.

An original cast member of The Producers, Denman was understudy to Matthew Broderick — an experience he documented in the memoir, "A Year with The Producers." He has also played on Broadway in Dream, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and the closing cast of Cats. He also served as choregrapher to the long-running Off-Broadway hit Naked Boys Singing!

Patterson, who recently return to her California stomping grounds to perform in Steve Martin's The Underpants, made her Broadway debut in the original cast ensemble of the 2001 revival of 42nd Street — where, in an fitting manner, she was then chosen to replace Kate Levering as the lead Peggy Sawyer. The actress can be seen in the upcoming Jim Jarmusch film and in Disney's "Princess Diaries 2." Other stage credits include in The Boy Friend in the Julie Andrew's role under Andrews direction.

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.It's also the stage where Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance plays prior to Broadway.

Tickets to White Christmas at the Curran, 445 Geary St. in San Francisco, CA, are available by calling (415) 512-7770. For more information, visit www.bestofbroadway-sf.com.

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