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Just like the one you used to know…

By Eddie Torres

Fort Wayne Reader

2017-10-23


According to myth and legend, songwriter Irving Berlin was tasked with coming up a song for each of the four major American holidays for the musical Holiday Inn. Perhaps a die-hard Berlin scholar could name the other three tunes, assuming Berlin even finished them. But everyone knows “White Christmas,” and that’s supposedly the one Berlin thought he got wrong — the composer was Jewish, and even after everyone told him it was one of the best Christmas songs they had ever heard, Berlin thought he just wasn’t “getting” the holiday.

The song really took off when it was featured (in a different version) in the 1954 film of the same name. Long a holiday classic, the movie got a stage adaptation only relatively recently. The Fort Wayne Civic’s production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas begins its run on November 4, and it’s a faithful (well, fairly faithful) take on the story that’s been a holiday favorite for 60+ years…

Two entertainers, Phil Davis (Chris Rasor) and Bob Wallace (Michael Nelaborige) meet while serving in the army during World War II and afterwards become successful Broadway producers. The partners check out the song-and-dance act of the Haynes sisters, Judy and Betty (Darby Bixler and Emily Arata Grillo). Realizing Bob has fallen for Betty, Phil arranges to follow the sisters to their show at an inn in Vermont.

It turns out the inn in Vermont is owned by their beloved former commanding officer Tom Waverley (Ken Low). He's sunk everything he has into the venture but it has yet to snow; the inn is on the verge of bankruptcy. Davis and Wallace come up with a plan to help Waverly, but to complicate matters, a series of misunderstandings leads to a rift between Bob and Betty — Phil and Judy need to try to get them back together.

Like a lot of holiday classic, the story may be a little hokey, but that’s hardly the point. It’s there to provide a showcase for some fantastic songs, and in that, White Christmas more than delivers. The title tune tends to overshadow many of the other noteworthy numbers featured, like “Count Your Blessings” and “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing.”

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Fort Wayne Civic Theater presents White Christmas

Arts United Center
303 East Main Street

Saturday, November 4 at 8 pm
Sunday, November 5 at 2 pm
Friday, November 10 at 8 pm
Saturday, November 11 at 8 pm
Sunday, November 12 at 2 pm
Friday, November 17 at 8 pm
Saturday, November 18 at 8 pm
Sunday, November 19 at 2 pm

Tickets:

$30 Adults
$25 Seniors
$17 Age 23 and under

Online at fwcivic.org
Or CALL (260) 424-5220

Box Office Hours Monday-Friday from Noon to 6 PM

Arts United Center at 303 E. Main Street

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