Rehearsals began in New York City Oct. 25 for the two concurrent Broadway-style commercial productions of Irving Berlin's White Christmas, to play Detroit and St. Paul, MN, over the holidays.
This new, splashy Walter Bobbie-directed version of the property began in San Francisco in 2004, spread to three concurrent markets in 2005 and will be seen at the Fox Theatre in Detroit (Nov. 17-Dec. 30; opening Nov. 18) and the Ordway Center in St. Paul (Nov. 28-Jan. 7, 2007). It'll resurface in other markets (such as Boston) in 2007.
The property is now also licensable and seen in regional runs staged by independent producers, but the Bobbie show is, for now, considered the high-profile flagship version of the show.
The 2006 New York rehearsals in Manhattan were overseen by Marc Bruni, an associate of director Bobbie — and Bobbie himself also met with the casts, and some tweaks and rewrites were addressed.
The Detroit cast includes Kate Baldwin as Betty Haynes (the Rosemary Clooney role), Charles Dean as General Waverly, Berklea Going as Susan, Mark Ledbetter as Phil Davis (the Danny Kaye role), Mike Masters as Ralph Sheldrake, Susan Mansur as Martha Watson, Shannon O'Bryan as Judy Haynes (the Vera Ellen role) and Graham Rowat as Bob Wallace (the Bing Crosby role), with Cliff Bemis, Jeremy Benton, Jacob ben Widmar, Jacqueline Bayne, Andrew Black, Graham Bowen, Melinda Cowan, Margot de La Barre, Steve Donahue, Sara Edwards, Megan Hart Jimenez, Luke Hawkins, Dale Hensley, Sarah Hicks, Alex Hsu, Drew Humphrey, Mary Giattino, Katie Kerwin, Maggie Malaney, Brent McBeth, Joseph Medeiros, Emily Morgan, Missy Morrison, Stephanie Morse and Kiira Schmidt. The Detroit and St. Paul runs are produced by The Producing Office (Kevin McCollum, Jeffrey Seller), Paul Blake, Dan Markley, and Sonny Everett in association with Paramount Pictures.
Inspired by the 1954 film of the same name, 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.
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.
For more information, visit www.whitechristmasthemusical.com.
A cast recording of the score of the new production was released by Ghostlight Records Oct. 17.
The St. Paul cast includes John Antony as Ralph Sheldrake, Stephen Bogardus as Bob Wallace, Jeffry Denman as Phil Davis, Melody Hollis as Susan, Kerry O'Malley as Betty Haynes, David Ogden Stiers as General Waverly, Kristen Beth Williams as Judy Haynes 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.