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Columbus prepping for early ‘White Christmas’ on Ohio Theatre stage

Courtesy of Carder Photography

Although the Thanksgiving turkey has yet to be carved, the holiday season is well on its way.

Irving Berlin’s musical “White Christmas,” presented by the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, is scheduled to be performed 8 p.m. Tuesday at Ohio Theatre.

Based on the 1954 film starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, “White Christmas” is the story of two stage performers and former Army buddies, Bob Wallace (Crosby) and Phil Davis (Kaye), who find their soulmates while saving their old general’s inn from bankruptcy.

Joe Costa, who plays Gen. Henry Waverly in the Broadway musical, said the production has a widespread appeal due to its relatable relationships.

“I think it’s a story about men and women falling in love and man having a kind of special love for a father figure,” Costa said. “And in that respect it’s kind of universal.”

Rolanda Copley, a publicist for CAPA, said she was fond of the 1954 film and is happy to have the play version in town.

“‘White Christmas’ is actually one of my favorite films,” Copley said in an email. “The Broadway production is a professional, quality, live extravaganza based on the film, and brings some of the best singers and dancers in the country to Columbus.”

Costa said this reaction is common for those who have seen the film.

“If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘White Christmas,’ anyone who’s ever seen that (is) usually charmed by it,” Costa said.

Some students agree.

“I own (the movie). I love it, it’s one of my favorite Christmas movies,” said Emily Azadpour, a third-year in strategic communication. “It’s classic and I watched it as a kid so it has good memories. I would definitely go see it because I’m familiar with the movie and the music.”

The musical production to be presented in Columbus might differ in small ways from the original film, Costa said, but it is essentially the same story with Berlin’s original music.

“There are some songs in the movie that are not in the tour show and there are some songs in our show that are not in the movie, but all the songs are written by Irving Berlin, one of the great American composers,” Costa said. “So plot-wise we pretty much follow the movie.

We cut one or two things, but the stories are almost identical and the songs are all by Irving.”
Costa also said the production attracts a diverse audience.

1950s, and I think it’s a show that appeals to younger people who have an interest in show business and just have an interest in old time show tunes,” he said.

He also said the audience will be enticed through the end.

“It’s sweet, it’s formulaic. You kind of feel what’s gong to happen but you don’t mind because the journey is so entertaining you just want to watch how it unfolds,” Costa said. “I would say it’s two hours and 20 minutes of great entertainment.”

Ohio Theatre is located at 39 E. State St. “White Christmas” is scheduled to run through Sunday. Tickets range from $30-$80 before fees and are available through Ticketmaster.

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