Schaffel, Engel, Murphy and More to Tour in White Christmas for Theater of the Stars

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23 Oct 2007

Marla Schaffel
Marla Schaffel

A new touring staging of Irving Berlin's White Christmas, the hit-song filled musical that has been blossoming for several seasons in markets large and small, will launch Nov. 6 in Atlanta.

Jeff Calhoun directs a cast that includes Tom Galantich (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) as Bob, Marla Schaffel (Jane Eyre) as Betty, David Engel (Forever Plaid) as Phil and Kristen Beth Williams (Happy Days: A New Musical at Paper Mill) as Betty's sister Judy Haynes.

Noah Racey, the respected actor-dancer many consider an heir to the style and gifts of Fred Astaire, is the production's choreographer. Racey is in the cast of Broadway's Curtains at the moment.

The new White Christmas production by Atlanta's Theater of the Stars will tech and have previews at the Savannah Civic Center in Savannah, GA Nov. 3-4 before playing the Fox Theatre in Atlanta from Nov. 6-11. The official tour opening is Nov. 9.

It will then tour to Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton, WI (Nov. 13-18), Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville, TN (Nov. 27-Dec. 2), Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, TN (Dec. 4-9), Auditorium Theatre in Rochester, NY (Dec. 11-16), Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, NY (Dec. 18-23), Progress Energy Center at Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh, NC (Dec. 26-30) and the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Center in Fort Myers, FL (Jan. 1-6, 2008).



Calhoun's most recent credit is as director for the stage version of Disney's High School Musical, which started in Atlanta and is now touring throughout North America. He also directed and choreographed the award-winning Deaf West production of Big River and served as producer and director-choreographer for the Broadway production of Brooklyn the Musical. He directed and choreographed the 1994 Broadway revival of Grease! and he co-choreographed the Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun. His Broadway directing debut was Tommy Tune Tonight.

The creative team includes Steven Landau as musical director and conductor, Kenneth Foy as scenic designer, Ken Billington as lighting designer, Peter Fitzgerald and Erich Bechtel as sound designers and Wade Laboissonniere as costume designer.

The musical is based on the 1954 Paramount hit movie that "tells the story of two veterans Bob and Phil who have a successful song-and-dance act after the war," according to TOTS. "With romance in mind, the two follow a duo of beautiful singing sisters en route to their Christmas show at a Vermont lodge, which just happens to be owned by Bob and Phil's former Army commander. The boys soon realize they are the only guests at the resort because there is no snow! In order to help the General, they come up with a scheme to bring in a crowd."

The show features the classic Irving Berlin hits "Blue Skies," "Sisters," "Count Your Blessings," "I Love a Piano?" and more.

The cast also includes Karen Murphy (The Most Happy Fella at New York City Opera) as Martha; George McDaniel (Broadway's Big River) as General Waverly; Fred Berman (Florida's The Tin Pan Alley Rag) as producer Ralph Sheldrake; Elisa Van Duyne (Broadway's 110 in the Shade, 42nd Street) as chorus girl Rita; and Roxane Barlow (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Boy From Oz, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Chicago and more) as chorus girl Rhoda.

Hannah Misera plays the General's granddaughter, Susan.

White Christmas features songs by Irving Berlin with a book by David Ives and Paul Blake.

For more information visit www.theaterofthestars.com.

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This stage version of the show was first produced commercially in San Francisco in 2004 in a production directed by Walter Bobbie. The Bobbie franchise has resurfaced ever since and will play Boston and Toronto this season. The script and score of the show are available for independent licensing and the TOTS staging represents one of many independently produced stagings of the popular show.