TUTS To Present ‘White Christmas’

November 14, 2008

This December, Theatre Under The Stars will present “White Christmas,” a new family musical based on the 1954 movie starring Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby.

“White Christmas” will take the stage Dec. 4-21 at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Houston. Both the stage production and the movie were inspired by the song “White Christmas,” the all-time number-one pop song and most recorded tune in history penned by Irving Berlin.

Michael Gruber stars as Bob Wallace. Gruber has been seen on Broadway in such shows as “A Chorus Line,” “Cats,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Kiss Me, Kate,” “Stairway to Paradise,” “Swing!” “Miss Saigon,” “Laughing Room Only” and “My Favorite Year.”

He also played the lead role in Theatre Under The Stars’ production of “Singin’ In The Rain.”

Beverly Ward plays Betty Haynes. TUTS-goers may remember her performance in “Paint Your Wagon.”

John MacInnis has the role of Phil Davis. In his last visit to TUTS, MacInnis choreographed the production of “Kiss Me, Kate.”

Tari Kelly reprises the role of Judy Haynes, a character she played for Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre and California Music Theatre, while Carol Swarbrick, who plays Martha Watson, has also appeared at TUTS in “Makin’ Whoopee!” “Into The Woods” and “Zorro, The Musical.”

Michael Tapley (Ralph Sheldrake) played the title role in “The Who’s Tommy” on Broadway, on National tour and in Germany. Jay Tribble (Ezekiel) is making his TUTS debut and has stage credits that include “Sound of Music,” “Jekyll & Hyde,” “Little Women” and “Music Man.”

Also starring in the production is Houston native Kevin Cooney as General Waverly. Cooney has performed with TUTS in “A Wonderful Life,” “110 In The Shade” and “Anything Goes.”

Cooney also starred in the local production of “The Music Man,” “South Pacific,” “Sugar,” “Company,” “Little Me,” “1776,” and made his Broadway debut with “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” Cooney toured nationally with “Big River,” “Other People’s Money,” and “Madame Butterfly.”

His extensive TV and movie credits include “Nip/Tuck,” “Medium,” “Cold Case,” “CSI”, “Without A Trace,” Trip To Bountiful,” “Primary Colors,” “Austin Powers,” “Legally Blonde” and “Charlie Wilson’s War.”

Broadway veteran Jamie Rocco will both direct and choreograph the TUTS production of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.”

The musical is based on the 1954 movie, “White Christmas” starring Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby, who play war buddies turned vaudeville showmen. The plot thickens when they meet two song-bird sisters and romantic antics ensue.

The story climaxes when the stars host a musical review in honor of their retired Army captain, drawing the audience into a richly choreographed musical number commemorating the troops’ gratitude.

With a cast of 32, nearly two-dozen musicians, elaborate staging, choreography and costumes, the show is a true spectacle. Since no production of “White Christmas” would be complete without snow, flakes will fall throughout Sarofim Hall onto theatre-goers below. The production also includes classic Irving Berlin songs “Blue Skies,” “Count Your Blessings” and the title song, “White Christmas.”

In the conjunction with Art For Soldiers, Theatre Under The Stars will feature holiday card and artwork stations in the lobby at each show, providing youngsters and families the opportunity to create unique artwork to be mailed to veterans and soldiers.

Additionally, to help audiences get into the holiday mood, “White Christmas,” the movie, will be showing free to the public at Discovery Green at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening.

Tickets for TUTS’ production of “White Christmas” start at $32 and are available by phone at 713-558-8887, or outside the Houston area at 888-558-3882.

Tickets can also be purchased in person at the Theatre Under The Stars box office, 800 Bagby at Walker. Box office hours are Monday – Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets are also available online www.TUTS.com.

In keeping with the military theme of “White Christmas,” military families receive a discount at the box office with their military IDs one hour before each performance.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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