Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

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

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.”

STAGE LOVE
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.”

’TIS THE SEASON
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
costumes.”
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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