Gainesville Community Playhouse presents ‘A White Christmas’
Published: Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 6:42 p.m.
The movie was released nearly 60 years ago, but the story of “White Christmas” is being told with a special surprise this holiday season at the Gainesville Community Playhouse.
‘A White Christmas’
What: Gainesville Community Playhouse production of classic musical with Irving Berlin songs
When: Opens Friday and runs Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. through Dec. 23
Where: Vam York Theater, 4039 NW 16th Blvd.
Tickets: $16, $10 for students and children
Info: 376-4949, www.gcplayhouse.org
The musical opens Friday and runs through Dec. 23 at the GCP’s Vam York Theater. The holiday production normally runs for four weeks, but this year it will run for five — up until the night before Christmas Eve. The play’s co-directors, Bob Garrigues and Ted Lewis, say the new production also features a theatrical surprise that the theater has never done before. “You don’t see it in a lot of theaters,” Lewis says about the surprise, one of the highlights of the production’s climactic scene.
The musical features such well-known Irving Berlin songs as “I Love a Piano,” “Snow” and “White Christmas.” “Irving was one of the greatest American composers there ever was,” says Garrigues.
The story is about two World War II soldiers, Bob and Phil, who help their former commanding general save his winter resort by setting up a musical revue, according to a press release. The two eventually make it to Broadway.
Stephen Griffin, who plays the role of Bob Wallace, says that he grew up watching the movie with his family. “It’s a Christmas show that everyone can enjoy. There’s humor that runs throughout that everyone can laugh at,” Griffin says, describing his character as a goofball and ladies man.
“(Bob’s) loose on stage and kind of uptight in reality,” he says.
Griffin, 23, says it’s his first time performing in a holiday show, but that he used to joke that if he were in a play, this would be the role he played. “It’s pretty cool that it actually happened. You could say it’s a dream come true,” Griffin says.
The musical is based on the 1954 movie, “White Christmas,” starring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. “It’s the same storyline with its own little twist,” Griffin says. “There’s great tap dancing and big group dance numbers.”
Co-director Lewis says he also grew up watching the film. “It’s a good, old-fashioned romantic comedy,” says Lewis, who also is director of the Buchholz High School theater department.
“My students from the high school have been learning higher-level theater,” he says. “It’s been a really unique show because we have a lot of young people.” Students from Buchholz High School built the musical’s set.
The classic story, which received two Tony nominations as a Broadway production in 2009, remains an audience favorite in regional productions as well.
“It involves soldiers, dancers, young lovers,” Garrigues says about the play. “Everyone sees this show. It’s absolutely a classic.”
Showtimes for “White Christmas” are 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $16 for adults, $10 for students and children, and are available at the Vam York Theater box office at 4039 NW 16th Blvd. For more information, call the box office at 376-4949 or see www.gcplayhouse.org.
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