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Randall Theatre stages 'White Christmas'

Called a "holiday card come to life" by the New York Daily News, "White Christmas" is a lavish musical full of singing, dancing and 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.”

This perennial favorite tells the story of Army veterans Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, who put together a successful song-and-dance act after World War II. With romance in mind, the duo follow two beautiful singing sisters on their way to perform a Christmas show at a Vermont lodge. There, they discover the lodge is owned by their former Army commander.

Randall Theatre's production of the musical — with book by David Ives and Paul Blake — opens Friday, Dec. 9, and runs through Saturday, Dec. 31, at the community theater, 10 Third St., Medford.

Shows are set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9-10, Thursday through Friday, Dec. 15-17, Wednesday through Friday, Dec. 21-23, Tuesday through Thursday, Dec. 27-29, 1 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 11 and 18, and Saturdays, Dec. 24 and 31.

Tickets are $22 for the opening-night reception and include dinner, drinks and the show. Tickets for reserved seats at other shows are $18. Tickets and information are available at www.randalltheatre.com or by calling 541-632-3258. Pay-what-you-want tickets are available 30 minutes before shows, subject to availability.

Bob Wallace, the character portrayed by Bing Crosby in the 1954 film of “White Christmas,” is played by Jon Oles in the Randall production. The role of Phil Davis is played by Payne! Smith. Bob Herried directs.

"When I think of Christmas today, I realize that the gift is not in the getting but in the giving. 'White Christmas' is a classic story of giving, not of presents but of self, and to a person who needs a helping hand whether he likes it or not."

Most everyone is familiar with the 1954 movie, but fewer are familiar with the stage version, Herried says in his director's notes. While the staged version is different in many ways, it still holds true to the original story line, with screenplay by Norman Panama, Melvin Frank and Norman Krasna.

Audiences will find the familiar characters of Wallace, Davis and Betty and Judy Haynes. There will be an expanded role for Martha Watson, who runs the inn for the retired general and is an all-around busybody. The story behind the general has more depth than the movie's and allows the character to experience a deeper transformation.

More than 20 actors sing and dance throughout the entire show at the Randall. Michael Wing is music director, and choreography is shared by Rebecca Campbell, Debbie Downward and Smith. The all-volunteer theater company began rehearsals in early October and is now busy putting the final touches on a project that has become dear to them.

"With Irving Berlin at the helm of this musical, and the spirit of the season, it's been a delight to direct and to help bring to life this classic piece," Herried says.

Susie Gabumpa and Brianna Gowland play the Haynes sisters, David Hagemaier plays General Waverly and Becky Durango plays Watson.

Other members of the ensemble include Ivy Reeder, James Humphreys, Jeff Mercer, Alex Bringer, Ella Rose Schaefer, Rebecca Jimenez, Sophia Berryessa, Mariah Wise, Ana Williams and Carson Hall.

Set design is by Nico Hewitt, lighting is by Kelly Wright Latham, and sound is by John Wing. Costume design is by Toni Holley and Celetta Katski.

Jon Oles, left, as Bob Wallace, and Payne! Smith as Phil Davis in Randall Theatre's production of 'White Christmas.' Mail Tribune / Denise Baratta