Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Music · White Christmas
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White Christmas

Erin Cowell - November 8th, 2010
We‘re Dreaming of a White Christmas
By Erin Crowell
Old Town Playhouse director Phil Murphy grew up wanting to be Danny
Kaye after he watched the 1954 Paramount Film “White Christmas.”
“Bing Crosby…not so much,” said Murphy. “I didn’t make much of a
dancer and I’m not much of a comedian.”
While Murphy won’t be playing Danny Kaye’s character, he will be in
the director’s chair when Northern Michigan is treated to the first
performance of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” November 11-14,
18-21 and Nov. 26 & 27 at the Old Town Playhouse in Traverse City.
Even though it’s been over 50 years since the classic holiday movie
was made, “White Christmas” was made available to the stage for the
first time this spring. Murphy jumped at the opportunity.
“There’s a lot of people who grew up with this (story), just like I
did,” explained the 33-plus years OTP veteran. “We’re not always
compelled to do a holiday show, but this is one we just didn’t want to
pass up.”

The play follows characters Bob Wallace (played by Phil Callighan) and
Phil Davis (Ed Blackburn) post-WWII Army privates who retire from the
armed services to pursue a song-and-dance career.
Along the way, they meet the sister act that is Betty (Maryscott
O’Connor) and Judy (Sherry White) Haynes. Not wanting to miss an
opportunity, the men follow the Haynes sisters to Vermont where they
discover their old general, Henry Waverly (played by John Dew), is the
owner of the Columbia Inn, which has fallen on hard times due to a
not-so-white winter. So, the four performers make it their mission to
help restore the inn through good ol’ song and dance – a performance
that will draw many people—and lots of revenue—to the struggling inn.
“White Christmas” is about old friends, new love and a passion for the
performing arts – something that transcends the real folks involved
with the show.
“One nice thing is that people will see some new faces on stage and
quite a few they haven’t seen in awhile,” said Murphy.
Blackburn, who started performing in OTP shows in 1983, has returned
to the stage after a 20 year hiatus. His story parallels that of his
“White Christmas” character, Phil – Blackburn met his wife, Lisa,
while the two were working on the OTP production of “Cinderella.”
“We married, had two kids and just enjoyed life for awhile,” said
Blackburn. “Our kids are in high school now and are very involved with
theater at their school. One day they were going through all our old
production photos and asked us why we didn’t do it anymore.”
With Lisa’s return to the stage in the last two years, Ed was next up
for the challenge and decided on “White Christmas” for his return
performance, being a fan of the classic film, himself.
“The part of Phil Davis is ideal,” said Blackburn. “It’s been great
because performing is in our blood – to sing, dance and act. I do the
same thing John Travolta does, except he gets paid more.”

Another reason OTP decided on “White Christmas” Murphy said is because
of the community’s request for the theatre to offer more
family-friendly productions.
“It’s an opportunity to do a crowd pleaser, a real family show. Most
actors here like working on the more challenging, adult-type stuff—and
we try to keep it pretty light—so this is something different. Sort of
a Christmas card for the city from the playhouse.”
So were any of the 26 cast members a little irked about rehearsing for
a Christmas play in September?
“Not really,” explained Murphy. “When you’re rehearsing for a play,
you’re not thinking about the overall effect until later on in
production. It’s actually just now starting to hit people that this is
pretty Christmas-y, with all the Christmas trees on stage and winter
While the storyline, characters and overall feel of “White Christmas”
will be just like its film predecessor, this production offers a few
more musical numbers, along with a few other elements.
“One example is in the scene ‘Snow,’ in the movie there are just four
of them singing about the snow. This time it’s a whole chorus,” said
Murphy. “There’s a lot of new that people will hear, along with all
the classics.”
Blackburn encouraged audience members to sing along to all the Irving
Berlin tunes.
“People will want to sing along to all the favorites like ‘Sisters,’
‘White Christmas’ and other Berlin songs like ‘I love a piano,’” he
said. “We want them to enjoy it as much as we are.”

Directed by Phil Murphy, music direction under Joe Rice, vocal
direction by Carly McCall, with choreographers Liz Reincke and Judy
Stines, along with stage manager Denni Don Hunting, tickets to “Irving
Berlin’s White Christmas” are $23 for adults; $12 for children and $18
for groups. Performances will run Nov. 11-14, 18-21 and Nov. 26 & 27.
Curtain opens at 8 p.m., with Sunday performances at 3 p.m. For more
information, visit oldtownplayhouse.com or call 231-947-2210.

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