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White Christmas in the Boro
Musical to take stage Friday, Saturday at Averitt
120910 WHITE CHRISTMAS 01 web
The cast of the Averitt Center for the Arts production of "White Christmas" treats Wal-Mart shoppers to a taste of the holidays. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

The "White Christmas" movie people have enjoyed for years that showcases the talents of Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye was rewritten for the stage to give heavier emphasis to the music. This weekend, it will premiere at the Averitt Center.

"White Christmas, the Musical" is presented by Walker's Pharmacy and opens Friday at 7:30 p.m. on the stage of the Emma Kelly Theater. Two more performances are scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Also, if you were in Walmart Thursday afternoon around 5, you probably saw or heard the cast's impromptu rendition of the title song in the store's produce section.

The musical, entitled "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," premiered in San Francisco in 2004 and has toured in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia.

This means that Statesboro's version, produced by Russ Lanier and directed by Tony Phillips, is one of the first to be performed in community theater in the United States, and especially in the Southeast Georgia region.

"For me the best thing about this musical is that it is based on American history, specifically World War II, and is centered around a general that retires from the Army and buys an inn in Vermont," Phillips said.

More than 75 local performers are involved in the production.

"One special thing about the cast is that I have a husband and wife team starring in leading roles. Perry and Valerie Zeigler will be celebrating their 29th anniversary soon. They star as Bob Wallace and Betty Hayes," Phillips said.

The rest of the cast includes Austin Zeigler, Russ Lanier, Janice Smith, Gary Cantrell, Justice North, Todd Williford, and many others.

Bill Coen and Mitch Dedge are heading up the music direction for the play, and featured dancers from Southern Dance Academy will add to the production.

Reserved seating is $16. Call 912-212-2787 for ticket information.

 

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