Press Room

PTC PRESENTS WHITE CHRISTMAS

November 16, 2010
For: IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Heather Nowlin
801-581-7222
heather.nowlin@ptc.utah.edu

PIONEER THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS
Irving Berlin’s White Christmas

Based upon the Paramount Pictures film written for the screen by Norman Krasna, Norman Panama, and Melvin Frank. Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin. Book by David Ives and Paul Blake.

Pioneer Theatre Company presents “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas,” December 3, 2010 through December 24, 2010.

Based on the classic 1954 film of the same name, this lavish musical that the New York Daily News called “A holiday card come to life” is an all-singing, all-dancing evening of theatre that includes some of Irving Berlin’s greatest songs, including “Blue Skies,” “Happy Holiday,” “Sisters,” “Snow,” “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep” and, of course, “White Christmas.”

Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, two former G.I.s and famous song-and-dance men, decide to bring their extravagant Broadway revue to their former General’s rustic Vermont inn for the holidays. To add to the excitement, they bring along sister act Betty and Judy Haynes and prove that romance can blossom at any time.

Bob Wallace, the character portrayed by Bing Crosby in the 1954 film of “White Christmas,” is played by TALLY SESSIONS. Sessions has appeared in the off-Broadway productions of “Anyone Can Whistle,” “Yank!” and “Godspell,” and in the national tours of “South Pacific,” “Legally Blonde” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Other New York credits include “Main-Travelled Roads,” “The Children,” “Tim and Scrooge” and “The Happy Prince.” This marks his PTC debut.

The role of Phil Davis is played by TIM FALTER. Falter appeared in the national tour of “Some Like It Hot” starring Tony Curtis. His regional credits include leading roles in “Singin’ in the Rain,” “42nd Street,” “George M!,” “Crazy For You,” “State Fair” starring John Davidson and “Cats.” This is his PTC debut.

Betty and Judy Haynes are played by AMY JUSTMAN and KAITLYN DAVIDSON, respectively. Justman understudied the role of Betty Haynes in the 2008 Broadway company of “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.” Her other New York credits include Susan in “Company” (PBS Great Performances/Original Revival Cast Recording), “Show Boat” and “The Grapes of Wrath” (at Carnegie Hall). Her extensive classical credits include work with New York City Opera and New York City Ballet, as well as the Bernstein “Mass” at Carnegie Hall. This is Justman’s PTC debut.

Kaitlyn Davidson, playing Judy Haynes, was most recently seen in the Actors’ Fund production of “They’re Playing Our Song” with Sutton Foster. Earlier this year, she originated several roles in the world premiere of the musical “Johnny Baseball” at the American Repertory Theatre, directed by Diane Paulis. Her other credits include lead or featured roles in “La Cage Aux Folles,” “Into the Woods,” “West Side Story,” “Mame,” “Cats” and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.” She returns to PTC after appearing as Val in “A Chorus Line” last season.

General Waverly, whom the group sacrifices their holiday plans to help, is played by DICK DECAREAU. Decareau has been a part of several national tours, including as Grandpa Potts in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” which recently played Salt Lake City. His Broadway and off-Broadway credits include “Raggedy Ann,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “Captains Courageous.” His other national tours include “Ragtime” and three nationals of the original “Annie.” This marks his PTC debut.

Martha Watson, the General’s housekeeper, who doubles as a sort of inn manager and all-around busybody, is played by MARY FANNING DRIGGS. Driggs has appeared in 13 PTC productions including “42nd Street,” “Les Miserables,” “The Producers,” “My Fair Lady,” “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” and “Smokey Joe’s Cafe.” Her regional credits include Annie Oakley in “Annie Get Your Gun,” Winnifred in “Once Upon a Mattress,” Charity in “Sweet Charity” and Alonso in “The Tempest” (directed by Tony Kushner). She maintains a private vocal studio and teaches workshops specializing in pop-belt techniques.

Other featured performances include JOHN SHUMAN as Ezekiel, the lethargic New England handy man; KIIRA SCHMIDT and JENNIFER MATHIE as the man-hungry chorus girls Rita and Rhoda; STEVEN FEHR as Mike Nulty, the flamboyant stage manager of the Wallace and Davis show; ANNE STEWART MARK as chorus girl Tessie and Sheldrakes secretary; and JAMES PATRICK as Ralph Sheldrake, a producer on the Ed Sullivan Show.


John Shuman has appeared on Broadway in “La Cage Aux Folles” (05 revival), “13 Rue de L’Amour” and off-Broadway in “The Dishwashers” (59 E. 59th St. Theatre), “The Fantasticks,” “An Oak Tree,” “Hotel Baltimore” and “Moonchildren.” Kiira Schmidt appeared on Broadway in “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” as Rita, and she recently returned from a summer in Scotland and China where she played Cyd Charisse in the new musical “Reel to Real.” Jennifer Mathie is fresh off the national tour of “Monty Python’s Spamalot;” she has also been a Radio City Rockette and was a cast member of the original company of “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.” Steven Fehr appeared at the Nevada Conservatory Theatre, where he starred with Sally Struthers in “Annie” and Barbara Tarbuck in “Mother Courage and Her Children,” and at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in “Tony and Tina’s Wedding.” He has appeared at many Utah theatre companies, including the Egyptian, Salt Lake Acting Company and in several other PTC productions. Anne Stewart Mark has appeared in dozens of PTC shows, including recent productions “Is He Dead?,” “My Fair Lady” and “Noises Off.” She has also been seen locally at Salt Lake Acting Company and is a director of some note. James Patrick holds a master’s degree from Western Washington University. His other regional acting credits include “Evita,” “Brilliant Traces,” “Pump Boys and Dinettes” and “The Shape of Things.”

The General’s granddaughter Susan is played by local actress Alexia “Ally” Ioaniddes. A Park City native, Ioannides is 12 years old and returns to PTC after appearing in last season’s “A Christmas Story.” She has also appeared in “Annie Jr.,” “Charlie Brown” and “Willy Wonka” at the Egyptian Theatre Company.

Other members of the singing and dancing ensemble include Bree Branker, Eric Lee Brotherson, Joseph Cullinane, Mathew deGuzman, Dena DiGiacinto, Christopher Kotera, Andrea Mislan (Dance Captain and Assistant Choreographer), Tony Neidenbach and Patrick ONeill. Rounding out the cast are local actors Rhett Guter, Breann Johnson, Maggy Lawrence, Christine Moore, John T. Wolfe and Robin Young.

Paul Mason Barnes directs the production. Barnes returns to PTC after directing last season’s “A Christmas Story.” Additional PTC credits: “Romeo & Juliet,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “You Can’t Take It With You,” the 2004 and 2005 productions of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” “Camelot” and “As You Like It.” Utah audiences may also be familiar with Barnes’ work in Cedar City, where he has directed at the Utah Shakespeare Festival since 1993. Barnes is a founding and producing director of the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, Minnesota.

Choreography is by DIRK LUMBARD, whose Broadway credits include “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “Imaginary Friends,” “The Music Man,” “On Your Toes,” “Barnum” and “Sugar Babies.” He has appeared off-Broadway in “Flora the Red Menace,” “Dames at Sea” and “She Loves Me.” He has appeared in several national tours, including “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” which played Salt Lake City last year. Lumbard has appeared in numerous regional productions, including at PTC as Lumiere in “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.”

Returning to PTC to conduct and music-direct the production is MICHAEL HORSLEY. Horsley is resident music director for the St. Louis MUNY where he helped create “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.” Since then he has conducted this version for the Boston, Detroit, and Toronto companies as well as last year’s national tour. He conducted the national tours of “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “42nd Street,” “Cinderella,” “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and “Chicago” (starring Chita Rivera and Ben Vereen). He music-directed PTC’s production of “A Chorus Line” last season.

Set design is by PTC Resident Scenic Designer GEORGE MAXWELL. Favorite PTC designs include “Chicago,” “Les Miserables,” “Metamorphoses,” “Enchanted April,” “The Importance of Being Earnest,” “West Side Story,” “Proof,” “Peter Pan,” “Noises Off,” “Man of La Mancha,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “The Foreigner” and “Miss Saigon.” He has designed the sets for Utah Opera Company’s “The Coronation of Poppea” and “The Ballad of Baby Doe,” and productions for the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Alabama Shakespeare Festival. George is a member of United Scenic Artists.

K.L. ALBERTS designs costumes for the show. Previous designs at PTC include “42nd Street,” “Miss Saigon,” “The Producers” and “Les Miserables”, among many others. Alberts has also designed for the University of Utah’s Babcock Theatre, Salt Lake Acting Company, Meat & Potato Theatre Company, and “Ah! Wilderness,” “Hay Fever,” “The Matchmaker,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Great Expectations: A New Musical” for the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

Lighting design is by PHIL MONAT. Monat’s Broadway designs include “Legends” starring Joan Collins and Linda Evans, “Sly Fox” starring Richard Dreyfuss, “Finian’s Rainbow,” “Sally Marr & Her Escorts” and “Three From Brooklyn.” Recent off-Broadway designs include “Woman Before A Glass” (Obie Award), “Adult Entertainment,” “American Rhapsody,” “Berlin to Broadway” with Kurt Weill and “Visiting Mr. Green.” He returns to PTC after lighting several productions, including “Hamlet,” “Touch(ed),” “My Fair Lady” and “Chicago,” among many others.

Hair and makeup design is by PTC resident designer Amanda French, and sound design is by PTC resident sound designer MATTHEW TIBBS.

Pioneer Theatre Company, Utah’s premier resident professional theatre, performs at Roy W. and Elizabeth E. Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, located on the University of Utah campus at 300 South and 1400 East in Salt Lake City, easily accessible by TRAX light rail. Free parking is also available and the theatre is equipped with an elevator, handicap parking, hearing assistance devices and other easy-access features.

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MEDIA PHOTO SHOOT: There will be a media photo shoot on Monday, November 22, 2010, at 5:30 p.m. at Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 S. 1400 E., SLC. Please call 801-581-7222 to RSVP.

PHOTOS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD: High-resolution color photos of this production will be available for media use on the PTC website beginning Tuesday, November 23, 2010 after 3:00 p.m. Go directly to http://www.pioneertheatre.org/press-room/media-photos/

TV CAMERA FILMING: Filming a short segment of the production during Preview or Opening Night for press use can be arranged. Call 801-581-6270.

INTERVIEWS: Interviews with the cast and artistic staff are available. Call 801-581-7222.

PRESS TOURS: Tours of the set for the press are available. Call 801-581-6270.

WHO: Pioneer Theatre Company

WHAT: Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
Based upon the Paramount Pictures film written for the screen by Norman Krasna, Norman Panama, and Melvin Frank. Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin. Book by David Ives and Paul Blake.

WHEN: December 3 through December 24, 2010

TIMES: Dec. 3 through Dec. 18: Mon. through Thur. at 7:30 p.m.; Fri. & Sat. at 8:00 p.m.; Sat. at 2:00 p.m.
Mon. Dec. 20 and Wed. Dec. 22: at 7:30 p.m.
Tues. Dec 21 and Thur. Dec. 23: at 2:00 p.m. and at 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Dec. 24: at noon

WHERE: Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre
300 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City

PRICE: $34 – $54; Children in grades K through 12 are half price on Mondays and Tuesdays

MORE INFO: Box Office (801) 581-6961. The Box Office is open 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday – Friday, and Saturdays when there are performances.
www.pioneertheatre.org

CAST:

Bree Branker*…………………………………………………………. Ensemble

Eric Lee Brotherson*………………………………………………… Ensemble

Joseph Cullinane*…………………………………………………….. Ensemble

Kaitlyn Davidson*……………………………………………………. Judy Haynes

Mathew deGuzman*…………………………………………………. Ensemble

Dick Decareau*………………………………………………………. General Waverly

Dena DiGiacinto*…………………………………………………….. Ensemble, u/s Betty Haynes

Mary Fanning Driggs*………………………………………………. Martha Watson

Tim Falter*……………………………………………………………… Phil Davis

Steven Fehr*…………………………………………………………… Mike Nulty, u/s Gen. Waverly

Rhett Guter……………………………………………………………… Ensemble, u/s Ralph Sheldrake

Alexia Ally Ioannides……………………………………………… Susan Waverly

Breann Johnson……………………………………………………….. Ensemble, u/s Judy Haynes

Amy Justman*…………………………………………………………. Betty Haynes

Christopher Kotera*…………………………………………………. Ensemble

Maggy Lawrence……………………………………………………… Ensemble, u/s Rita and Rhoda

Anne Stewart Mark*………………………………………………… Tessie, Mrs. Snoring Man, Secretary, u/s Martha Watson

Jennifer Mathie*………………………………………………………. Ensemble

Andrea Mislan*……………………………………………………….. Dance Captain, Asst. Choreographer, Ensemble

Christine Moore………………………………………………………. Ensemble, u/s Tessie and Mrs. Snoring Man

Tony Neidenbach*…………………………………………………… Ensemble

Patrick ONeill*………………………………………………………. Ensemble, u/s Phil Davis

James Patrick………………………………………………………….. Ralph Sheldrake, u/s Bob Wallace

Kiira Schmidt*………………………………………………………… Rita, Ensemble

Tally Sessions*………………………………………………………… Bob Wallace

John Shuman*…………………………………………………………. Ezekiel, Snoring Man

John T. Wolfe………………………………………………………….. Ensemble, u/s Mike Nulty

Robin Young…………………………………………………………… u/s Susan Waverly

* Denotes member of Actors Equity Association.

ARTISTIC TEAM:

Director…………………………………………………………….. Paul Mason Barnes

Set Designer………………………………………………………. George Maxwell

Costume Designer………………………………………………. K.L. Alberts

Lighting Designer………………………………………………… Phil Monat

Sound Designer………………………………………………….. Matthew Tibbs

Wig and Makeup Designer………………………………….. Amanda French