Snow Business: White Christmas Returns to Broadway for 64 Performances
By Kenneth Jones
James Clow, Mara Davi, Melissa Errico and Tony Yazbeck launch the second annual Broadway engagement of Irving Berlin's White Christmas, starting Nov. 13, at the Marquis Theatre. "M*A*S*H" star David Ogden Stiers and Broadway's Ruth Williamson are also featured.
The stage version of the Paramount film was developed in regional markets in recent years prior to its 2008 Tony Award-nominated Broadway debut. The show was nominated for Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations in spring 2009. Producers hope to make the show a continuing Broadway tradition.
The official opening is Nov. 22. The limited 64-performance engagement will play to Jan. 3, 2010.
White Christmas, featuring a cast of 33, is directed by Tony Award winner Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Randy Skinner, with music supervision by Rob Berman.
The 2009 company also features Peter Reardon, Remy Auberjonois, Cliff Bemis and Madeleine Yen, plus Kelli Barclay, Abby Church, Sara Edwards, Mary Giattino, Chad Harlow, Tori Heinlein, Leah Horowitz, Drew Humphrey, Matthew J. Kilgore, Matthew LaBanca, Jason Luks, Joseph Medeiros, Taryn Molnar, Beth Johnson Nicely, Denise Nolin, Dennis O'Bannion, Con O'Shea-Creal, Kristyn Pope, Kiira Schmidt, Kelly Sheehan, Anna Aimee White, Ryan Worsing, and Richard Riaz Yoder.
"The musical tells the story of two showbiz buddies who put on a show in a picturesque Vermont inn, and find their perfect mates in the bargain," according to the producers. "Full of dancing, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written, Irving Berlin's White Christmas is a merry and bright theatrical experience for the entire family."
Clow will play song and dance man Bob Wallace, the role made famous by Bing Crosby in the classic 1954 film. He played the role last season in the Detroit production at the Fox Theatre, and appeared in the Broadway musicals Assassins, Wonderful Town, Company, She Loves Me and Blood Brothers.
Errico will play Betty Haynes, one-half of the sister act that teams up with Bob and showbiz partner, Phil. She received Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League nominations for her starring role in Amour and has also appeared on Broadway in Dracula, My Fair Lady, High Society and Anna Karenina.
Yazbeck will play Phil, Bob's Army buddy, the charismatic ladies man, a role he played in the 2007 Toronto holiday engagement of the musical. He also appeared on Broadway in the recent revival of Gypsy starring Patti LuPone, A Chorus Line and in On the Town for City Center Encores!
Mara Davi will play Betty's younger sister Judy Haynes (Phil's love interest). She appeared in the role last season in the St. Paul production at the Ordway Center. She recently starred in the Broadway revival of A Chorus Line, and as Janet Van de Graaff in The Drowsy Chaperone, and in the title role in No, No Nanette for City Center Encores!
Ogden Stiers will play General Henry Waverly, Bob and Phil's former commanding officer and proprietor of the Vermont inn. The Emmy Award-nominated actor, widely known to television audiences as Major Charles Winchester from the iconic series, "M*A*S*H," returns to the role he played in the 2005 Los Angeles production at the Pantages Theatre, the 2006 St. Paul company at the Ordway Center, and last season's Detroit company at the Fox Theatre. He has appeared on Broadway in the The Magic Show, Ulysses in Nighttown and Scapin.
Williamson will play Martha Watson, General Waverly’s right-hand woman at the inn, a role she will return to after first playing it in Los Angeles in 2005 and again in St. Paul in 2006. She recently starred in the Broadway revival of La Cage Aux Folles.
Reardon returns to the role of Bob and Phil's former Army buddy, Ralph Sheldrake, from last season's original Broadway company. He has also appeared on Broadway in Urinetown, Passion, Meet Me in St. Louis and La Cage aux Folles.
Auberjonois will make his Irving Berlin's White Christmas debut in the role of Columbia Inn's neurotic stage manager Mike Nulty. He has appeared on Broadway in Frost/Nixon and The Country Girl.
Bemis appeared in last season's original Broadway company as the Columbia Inn stage hand Ezekiel Foster, a role he originated in the world premiere of Irving Berlin's White Christmas in 2004. He also recently starred in the first national tour of The Drowsy Chaperone as Feldzieg.
Yen makes her Broadway debut and returns to the role of General Henry Waverly's precocious granddaughter Susan Waverly following appearing in last season's Detroit production at the Fox Theatre. She plays Milli in the upcoming Nickelodeon cartoon series "Umizoomi," and recently appeared at Carnegie Hall as Anna in the concert presentation of the musical Kristina.
Irving Berlin White Christmas is produced by Kevin McCollum, John Gore, Tom McGrath, Paul Blake, The Producing Office, Dan Markley, Sonny Everett and Broadway Across America in association with Paramount Pictures.
White Christmas has a book by David Ives and Paul Blake. The creative team features set design by Tony Award nominee Anna Louizos (In the Heights, Avenue Q), costumes by Tony Award nominee Carrie Robbins (Grease, Over Here), lighting design by Tony Award winner Ken Billington (Chicago, The Drowsy Chaperone, Annie), sound design by Tony Award nominee Acme Sound Partners (In the Heights, Spamalot), orchestrations by Tony Award nominee Larry Blank (The Drowsy Chaperone), vocal and dance arrangements by Bruce Pomahac and musical supervision by Rob Berman.
For more information visit www.whitechristmasbroadway.com.
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