It'll be a 'White Christmas'

For many of us in Minnesota, it simply wouldn't be the holiday season without a white Christmas.

Rochester Civic Theatre is endeavoring to guarantee that tradition with its production of "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," a recent stage musical based on the favorite holiday movie, "White Christmas."

"We want to give people a holiday show they're going to enjoy, and this is such an American classic," said Gregory Stavrou, executive director of RCT, who is also directing this play. "All of us of a certain age have a significant nostalgic impulse when it comes to 'White Christmas.' It's so darn uplifting."

The play by David Ives and Paul Blake is based on the 1954 film and had its premiere in 2004. It has since had successful tours overseas and popular Broadway runs.

"The basic narrative stays the same," Stavrou said. "All the numbers we remember and love from the movie are in there."


That would include "Sisters," "Snow," "We'll Follow the Old Man" and, of course, the title song.

"There's always a risk in doing a film that people so love," Stavrou said. "But we're not worried about it. We have a strong cast, and the magic of live theater is an attraction in itself."

The RCT production will feature Michael Fridgen and Leslie Haack as the singing Army buddies, and Melissa Adams-Goihl and Becky Erickson as the singing Haynes sisters. Mike Tri is Gen. Waverly, whose snow-less resort in Vermont could use some holiday cheer.

The play will be presented on a set designed by Gary Schattschneider. "It's designed to give a series of postcard-type images," Stavrou said. "The closing sequence will be worth the price of admission. The hope is that it's going to be one of those moments that gets to you because it's so pretty."

That warm holiday feeling is what it's all about at this time of year. "I think we all deserve to feel warm and fuzzy at least once a year," Stavrou said. "For us in theater, we do this because it's a special time of the year. It's awful nice to come together and do something joyful."

Especially if it involves a "White Christmas."

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