Merry and Bright: Irving Berlin's White Christmas Will Be Preserved on CD

News   Merry and Bright: Irving Berlin's White Christmas Will Be Preserved on CD
 
Ghostlight Records will record Irving Berlin's White Christmas — the new stage version of the 1954 movie-musical — in June, aiming for a CD release later in 2006.
Brian D'Arcy James in White Christmas.
Brian D'Arcy James in White Christmas.

The disc will feature the four leads from the 2004 San Francisco world premiere of the stage musical — Brian d'Arcy James, Anastasia Barzee, Jeffry Denman and Meredith Patterson. The ensemble will be drawn from past players of the show.

In 2005, following the promising 2004 test run, three concurrent Broadway-sized productions played Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles during the holidays. In addition to more Walter Bobbie-helmed commercial productions (St. Paul, MN, for starters) in 2006, the property is also freshly available to resident theatre companies in 2006-07.

For the recording, Broadway vet Karen Morrow will play the salty, been-around concierge Martha (herself a showbiz vet) who works at an inn run by a crusty former general. Morrow (I Had a Ball) was in the 2005 Boston company.

The musical concerns Bob and Phil, entertainers and Army vets, who rally their old comrades to support their retired commanding officer 10 years after the end of World War II. In the process, the boys meet up (and fall in love with) a sister act — and they all put on a show at a New England inn.

Irving Berlin songs in the musical include "Sisters," "White Christmas," "Blue Skies," "Let Yourself Go," "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing," "How Deep Is the Ocean," "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me," "Snow," "I Love a Piano," "Count Your Blessings" and more. Joel Moss will produce the Ghostlight recording. Rob Berman is musical supervisor/conductor. Orchestrations are by Larry Blank, with vocal and dance arrangements by Bruce Pomahac. An October release is expected.

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The stage property had its world premiere in 2000 under the guidance of Paul Blake at the famed outdoor theatre, The Muny, in St. Louis. The show was further refined by Broadway producers Kevin McCollum and Jeffrey Seller, and a fresh creative team, to be presented in San Francisco in 2004, and then in triplicate in 2005 — three concurrent Broadway-sized companies performing in San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles.

In late 2006, the commercial production will play The Ordway in St. Paul. The scenic and costume elements will be pulled from storage. No other cities have yet been announced for the full Broadway-sized version.

R&H Theatricals licenses Irving Berlin stage musicals, as well as works by Rodgers & Hammerstein and others, and is making Irving Berlin's White Christmas "available to our professional customers effective August 2006," R&H's Bert Fink previously told Playbill.com.

Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre and The Actors Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, FL, have announced their own resident productions of Irving Berlin's White Christmas for 2006-07.

Irving Berlin's White Christmas now has a libretto by David Ives and Paul Blake, based upon the Paramount Pictures film with a screenplay by Norma Krasna, Norman Panama and Melvin Frank. Blake and Ives are authors of the licensable script, with a score by the late Berlin (drawing from the composer-lyricist's film score and trunk songs).

Visit www.ghostlightrecords.com.

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