Letters 10-12-2015

Replacing Pipeline Is Safe Bet On Sept. 25, Al Monaco, president and CEO of Enbridge, addressed members of the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance. His message was, “I want to be clear. We wouldn’t be operating this line if we didn’t think it was safe.”

We pretty much have to take him for his word...

Know The Root Of Activism Author and rabbi Harold Kushner has said, “People become activists to overcome their childhood fear of insignificance.” The need to feel important drives them. They endeavor good works not to help the poor or sick or unfortunate but to fill the void in their own empty souls. Their various “causes” are simply a means to an end as they work to assuage their own broken hearts...

Climate’s Cost One of the arguments used to delay action on climate change is that it would be too expensive. Such proponents think leaving environmental problems alone would save us money. This viewpoint ignores the cost of extreme weather events that are related to global warming...

A Special Edition Cuckoo Clock The Republican National Committee should issue a special edition cuckoo clock commemorating the great (and lesser) debates and campaign 2016...

Problems On The Left Contrary to letters in the Oct 5th edition, Julie Racine’s letter is nothing but drivel, a mindless regurgitation of left-wing stuff, nonsense, and talking points. They are a litany of all that is wrong with the left: Never address an issue honestly, avoid all facts, blame instead of solving; and when all else fails, do it all over again...

Thanks, Jack It is so very difficult for the average American to understand the complex issues our country faces in far off places around the globe. (Columnist) Jack Segal’s career and his special ability to explain these issues in plain English in many forums make him a precious asset to all of us in northern Michigan...

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.”

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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