Luft, Bogardus, Elder, O'Malley, Sikora Will Be "Merry and Bright" on White Christmas Tour

By Kenneth Jones
08 Oct 2009

Kerry O'Malley and Stephen Bogardus in White Christmas.
Kerry O'Malley and Stephen Bogardus in White Christmas.
Photo by Richard Feldman

Lorna Luft will be saucy Martha in the new national tour of Irving Berlin's White Christmas, to also feature Stephen Bogardus as Bob Wallace, David Elder as Phil Davis, Kerry O'Malley as Betty Haynes and Megan Sikora as Judy Haynes.

Bogardus and O'Malley starred in the 2008 Broadway company — and regionally, before that — of this stage version of the 1954 movie musical that starred Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney.

The new national tour will play Omaha, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, East Lansing, St. Louis, Louisville and Kansas City in the 2009 holiday season.

Irving Berlin's White Christmas, according to the producers, "tells the story of two showbiz buddies putting on a show in a picturesque Vermont inn, and finding their perfect mates in the bargain."

The score is packed with hits by composer-lyricist Berlin: "Count Your Blessings," "Let Yourself go," "Happy Holiday," "Sisters," "Blue Skies," and the title song, among others. The score uses the picture's songs and borrows from the Berlin catalog ("Falling Out of Love Can Be Fun," anyone?).

The tour cast also includes John Antony as Ralph Sheldrake, Tom Deckman as Mike Nulty, Barry Flatman as General Waverly, Richard Pruitt as Ezekial Foster and Sarah Safer as Susan Waverly and Camille Mancuso as the understudy for Susan Waverly.

Rounding out the cast are Jacob ben Widmar, Scott Brateng, Barry Busby, Abbie Cooper, Melinda Cowan, Brandon Davidson, Lianne Marie Dobbs, Steven Donahue, Jenny Florkowski, Kristen Gaetz, Chad Harlow, Karen Hyland, Megan Hart Jimenez, Matthew Kirk, Lisa Ramey, Tory Ross, Melissa WolfKlain, Lois Enders, Billy Griffin, Emily Morgan and Dennis O'Bannion.

A separate production of White Christmas, concurrent with the tour, will play Broadway's Marquis Theatre for 61 performances Nov. 13, 2009-Jan. 3, 2010.

Irving Berlin's White Christmas is directed by Tony Award winner Walter Bobbie (Chicago, Sweet Charity), features a book by David Ives and Paul Blake, and has choreography by Randy Skinner (42nd Street), who was nominated for a Tony Award for this production.

The tour is produced by Kevin McCollum, Paul Blake, The Producing Office, Dan Markely 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.

Tony Award nominee Bogardus (Love! Valour! Compassion!) reprises the role of song and dance man Bob Wallace which he played on Broadway (opposite O'Malley) in 2008. He also played the role in the St. Paul and Boston companies. His Broadway credits include Old Acquaintance, Man of La Mancha, James Joyce's The Dead, High Society, King David, Falsettos, Grapes of Wrath, Les Misérables and West Side Story.

O'Malley also played Betty in Boston and St. Paul with Bogardus. She is best known to New York audiences for her portrayal of the Baker's Wife in the Broadway revival of Into the Woods, for which she received Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations.

Elder played Phil Davis in the Detroit production in 2008. He has appeared on Broadway in Curtains; 42nd Street; Kiss Me, Kate; Titanic; Once Upon A Mattress; Damn Yankees; Beauty and the Beast; and Guys and Dolls.

Sikora played Judy last season in the Detroit production with David Elder. She was most recently seen on Broadway in Curtains as Bambi Bernet for which she received an LA Ovation nomination.

Luft, who will play Gen. Waverly's right-hand woman, starred in the same role in the 2006 U.K. production of Irving Berlin's White Christmas. She has appeared on Broadway in Promises, Promises and Judy Garland: At Home at the Palace and in the national tour of Guys and Dolls. She is known for her recordings and concert appearances, and is showbiz royalty: the daughter of Judy Garland and Sid Luft.

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