The musical directed by Walter Bobbie, choreographed by Randy Skinner and written by David Ives and Paul Blake (drawing on the 1954 Paramount screenplay and varied score by Berlin) is currently being seen in three American cities. The Minnesota run is the first Midwest engagement announced for the property (a formative early production played several years ago at St. Louis' MUNY before the new creative team was attached).
No other 2006 engagements of the franchise have been announced, although Chicago and Atlanta are rumored to be targets.
Producers Jeffrey Seller and Kevin McCollum (of The Producing Office) were among partners who launched the White Christmas project for a late 2004 test run in San Francisco. Audiences hungry for wholesome, traditional, family-friendly fare ate the show up. And why not? It snowed in the theatre at the musical's climax.
The producers knew they were onto a viable franchise and programmed the title to return to San Francisco in 2005 — and be duplicated in Boston and Los Angeles. Three casts totaling 100 players rehearsed in shifts in Manhattan in October before being sent out to their destinations to play concurrent runs.
"Irving Berlin's White Christmas tells the story of two showbiz buddies putting on a show in a picturesque Vermont inn and finding their perfect mates in the bargain," according to the Ordway. "Full of dancing, laughter, and some of the greatest songs ever written, Irving Berlin's White Christmas promises to be a merry and bright theatrical experience for the entire family!" Ordway Center for the Performing Arts "is able to present this holiday favorite through artistic and community partnerships." The 2005 Boston production will move to Saint Paul in 2006, though casting may not be the same. Ordway's partnership with Boston's Wang Center for the Performing Arts "is a new model through which both centers equally share the expense of the physical properties of the show, including sets and costumes."
The centers will alternate presenting the show annually.
Beginning Nov. 21, patrons were able to purchase gift certificates that can be used towards the purchase of White Christmas tickets for the 2006 production.
Irving Berlin's White Christmas is produced by The Producing Office, Paul Blake, Dan Markley, and Sonny Everett in association with Paramount Pictures. The stage production is based on the Paramount Pictures film, written for the screen by Norman Krasna, Norman Panama, and Melvin Frank.