Paper Mill Announces Cast for 'White Christmas'
Holiday favorite will be extended to Christmas Eve.
Editor's note: This story was provided by Paper Mill Playhouse.
Paper Mill Playhouse announced the cast and creative team for its holiday musical, Irving Berlin’s "White Christmas," which will star Lorna Luft.
"White Christmas" will be directed by Marc Bruni, with choreography by Randy Skinner and musical direction by Steven Freeman. The cast features: James Clow (Bob Wallace), Tony Yazbeck (Phil Davis), Jill Paice (Betty Haynes), Meredith Patterson (Judy Haynes), Edward James Hyland (General Waverly) and Luft (Martha Watson). The show begins performances on Wednesday, Nov. 16 and runs at the Millburn theater through Saturday, Dec. 24.
Based on the beloved Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye film, this merry musical tells the tale of two famous song-and-dance men who stage a show in a scenic, snow-topped Vermont inn — and end up finding love with two singing sisters under the mistletoe. With laughter, crazy plot turns, Broadway-size production numbers and the unforgettable music and lyrics of the legendary Irving Berlin, a book by David Ives and Paul Blake, "Irving Berlin’s White Christmas" is a brightly wrapped holiday gift.
"Irving Berlin’s White Christmas" will be performed eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday. (Check the Paper Mill Playhouse website papermill.org for special holiday schedules.) Three and four show subscription packages are available, starting at $84. Single tickets are on sale from $25. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973-376-4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at www.papermill.org. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Groups of ten or more can receive up to a 25 percent discount on tickets and should call 973-315-1680. Investors Bank is the proud sponsor of Paper Mill Playhouse’s 2011-2012 season.
“We are thrilled to bring this cast of Broadway veterans to our stage,” remarked Paper Mill Playhouse Producing Artistic Director Mark S. Hoebee. “There is no better way to celebrate the holidays than a trip to Paper Mill Playhouse to experience this holiday spectacle.”
Director Marc Bruni was the Associate Director on 14 Broadway shows including Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and last year’s Tony-winning revival of "Anything Goes." Bruni’s last staging at Paper Mill Playhouse was the critically acclaimed production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." Other directing credits include: "Fanny" (City Center Encores!), "Ordinary Days" (Roundabout), "In the Mood" (Berkshire Theatre Festival), and at St. Louis Muny: "The Music Man" (Kevin Kline Award nomination).
Choreographer Randy Skinner’s Broadway credits include: "42nd Street" (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Astaire nominations), "Ain’t Broadway Grand" (Tony, Outer Critics nominations), "Irving Berlin’s White Christmas "(Tony, Drama Desk nominations), "State Fair "(Outer Critics nomination), "Lone Star Love" (Lucille Lortel nomination). "City Center Encores!": "Do Re Mi," "Of Thee I Sing," "Face the Music" and "No, No, Nanette." London’s West End: "Lend Me a Tenor: The Musical." The 2001 Tony Awards telecast (opening number).
James Clow plays Bob Wallace, stepping into the role Bing Crosby made famous. Clow was seen on Broadway in: "Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, ""Assassins, " "Wonderful Town," "Company," "She Loves Me" and "Blood Brothers." Clow was last seen at Paper Mill Playhouse as George Bailey in "A Wonderful Life." Tony Yazbeck portrays Phil Davis, the role played by Danny Kaye in the classic film. Yazbeck’s Broadway credits include: "Chicago" (Billy Flynn), "Irving Berlin’s White Christmas" (Phil Davis), "Gypsy" with Patti LuPone (Tulsa; Outer Critics Circle Award nomination), "A Chorus Line" (Al), "Never Gonna Dance," "Oklahoma!", and "Gypsy" with Tyne Daly. Sisters Betty and Judy Haynes are played by Jill Paice and Meredith Patterson. Paice was seen on Broadway in: "39 Steps" (Annabella/Pam/Margaret), "A Little Night Music" (Anne), "Curtains" (Niki Harris) and "The Woman in White" (Laura Fairlie). Patterson was seen on Broadway in: "42nd Street "(Peggy), "Irving Berlin’s White Christmas" (Judy Haynes) and Irving Berlin's "Face the Music" (Kit Baker) for "City Center Encores!" Edward James Hyland plays General Waverly. Hyland starred in several feature films including: "The Happening," "College Road Trip," " On the Hook," "Trial By Fire" and "Expiration Date." On the New York stage, Hyland was featured in "Arcadia," "Festen" and "Ah, Wilderness!" at Lincoln Center.
Lorna Luft will play the role of Martha Watson. Lorna Luft’s acclaimed career has encompassed virtually every arena of entertainment. A celebrated concert performer, stage, film and television actress, best selling author, recording artist and Emmy nominated producer – she continues to triumph in every medium with critics labeling her one of the most vibrant, versatile and exciting artists on stage today. Born to legendary entertainer Judy Garland and producer Sid Luft, music and entertainment was an integral part of her childhood. At age 11 she made her television debut singing on her mother’s series, The Judy Garland Show. At 16, already a seasoned performer, she shared the bill with her mom on Broadway in a fabled month-long concert engagement at New York's famed Palace Theater.
By 19, she was stopping the show on her own; starring on Broadway in Neil Simon’s hit musical "Promises, Promises. She continued on the New York stage as Peppermint Patty in the musical "Snoopy" and then took a dramatic turn alongside Farrah Fawcett in "Extremities." Lorna Luft is a gifted live performer frequently featured as a concert artist at the world’s most prestigious venues including The Hollywood Bowl, Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, The London Palladium, and L’Olympia in Paris. In films, she is most remembered by fans of all ages as Pink Lady Paulette Rebchuck in the camp classic "Grease 2." In 1998, Lorna added a new dimension to her multi-faceted career, that of NY Times best-selling author upon the release of her critically acclaimed memoir "Me and My Shadows. "
Peter Reardon (Ralph Sheldrake) appeared on Broadway in: "Irving Berlin’s White Christmas" (Ralph Sheldrake), "Urinetown" (Lockstock/Bobby), "Ragtime" (Willie Conklin), "Falsettos" (Whizzer), "Passion" (Major Rizzolli), "Meet Me in St. Louis" (Warren Sheffield) and "La Cage aux Folles" (Jean-Michel). Anthony Reimer (Mike Nulty) has appeared on the New York stage in New York credits include: "Cactus Flower" (Westside Theatre), "Hamlet" and "Macbeth" (NYCT).
Cliff Bemis (Ezekiel) originated the role of Ezekiel/Snoring Man in the world premiere of "Irving Berlin’s White Christmas" in San Francisco, as well as companies in Los Angeles, Detroit, and on Broadway. Andie Mechanic was recently seen on Broadway in "People in the Picture" and will portray the role of nine-year-old Susan Waverly.
Rounding out the "Irving Berlin’s White Christmas" cast are: Jacob ben Widmar, Laurie DiFilippo, Beth Glover, Luke Hawkins, Leeds Hill, Drew Humphrey, Bryan Thomas Hunt, Samantha Kelleher, Megan Kelley, Kristie Kerwin, Matthew J. Kilgore, Drew King, Pilar Millhollen, Beth Johnson Nicely, Kristyn Pope, Sara Michelle Reardon, Kelly Skidmore, Lauren Elaine Taylor and Anna Aimee White.
The design team includes: set design by Anna Louizos ("Avenue Q," "Curtains"), costumes by Carrie Robbins ("A Class Act"), lighting design by Ken Billington ("The Drowsy Chaperone,"" Annie"), hair and wig design by Mark Adam Rampmeyer and sound design by Randy Hansen. The production stage manager is Peter Wolf.