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White Christmas

A scene from 'White Christmas'

Ring in the holiday season when Irving Berlin’s beloved “White Christmas” returns to select cinemas nationwide for a two-day celebration on Dec. 9 and 12, courtesy of Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events.

Originally released in 1954, the classic film stars Bing Crosby (Bob) and Danny Kaye (Phil). After Phil saves Bob’s life in the army, the two become a widely popular vaudeville musical act. They agree to see a sister act as a favor to an old army buddy. The sisters, Rosemary Clooney (Betty) and Vera-Ellen (Judy) are going to Vermont to perform at an inn and Phil, determined to play matchmaker, sneakily arranges for himself and Bob to go along. When they realize the owner of the failing inn is their former general, the duo decide to bring their entire musical act to Vermont in a secret attempt to bring in guests and give back to the man that meant so much to them. 

Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen perform ‘Sisters’ in a scene from ‘White Christmas.’

Directed by Michael Curtiz (“Casablanca”), “White Christmas” includes such Berlin classics as “Sisters,” “Snow,” “Blue Skies,” “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep” and the enduring title song.

Presented as the final film in the 2018 TCM Big Screen Classics series, the screenings include new commentary by TCM Primetime host Ben Mankiewicz.

Participating movie theaters in our neck of the woods include AMC Loews Stony Brook 17, 2196 Nesconset Highway, Stony Brook on Dec. 9 and 12 at 2 and 7 p.m.; Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas, 1001 Broadhollow Road, Farmingdale on Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. and Dec. 12 at 7 p.m.; and Island 16 Cinema de Lux, 185 Morris Ave., Holtsville on Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. and Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. To purchase your ticket in advance, visit www.fathomevents.com.

Photos courtesy of Fathom Events

From left, Emily Edwards, Michael Mingoia, Adriana Scheer and Ryan Cavanagh in a scene from ‘White Christmas’

By Heidi Sutton

Fans of Irving Berlin are in for a treat this holiday season as the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts presents its latest offering, the stage version of “White Christmas.”

With book by David Ives and Paul Blake, the musical features 17 songs written by Berlin including what he considered his greatest song ever, “White Christmas.” Sung by Bing Crosby, the song would receive an Academy Award in 1943 for Best Original Song and sell more than 50 million copies, making it the best-selling Christmas song of all time.

A scene from ‘White Christmas’

Based on the classic 1954 film that starred Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen, the musical centers around Bob Wallace (Michael Mingoia) and Phil Davis (Ryan Cavanagh), World War II veterans who team up to become a successful song and dance act, even making appearances on the Ed Sullivan show.

Always on the lookout for new talent, they head to a nightclub to see the Haynes sisters, Betty (Emily Edwards) and Judy (Adriana Scheer) perform. While Phil and Judy hit it off right away, Bob and Betty need a little more time.

When Bob and Phil follow Betty and Judy to their next gig at the Columbia Inn in Pinetree, Vermont, they discover that the ski lodge is owned by their former general, Henry Waverly (Eugene Dailey). When the housekeeper, Martha Watson (Anne Marie Finnie) informs them that the inn is in financial straits, they decide to stage a benefit show in the barn on the property on Christmas Eve. Will everything go on as planned?

Directed by Ronald Green III, the 27-member cast transports the audience to the 1950s and does an excellent job portraying the story through song and dance.

Emily Edwards and Adriana Scheer perform ‘Sisters’

With choreography by M.E. Junge, Edwards and Scheer shine in “Sisters,” Finnie, Edwards and Scheer’s “Falling Out of Love Can Be Fun” is delightful while Mingoia delivers a beautiful version of “White Christmas” at the very beginning of the show. As a special treat, 10-year-old Cordelia Comando, in the role of  the general’s 9-year-old niece, belts out a rendition of “Let Me Sing and I’m Happy” that will take your breath away. There are big tap dance numbers also like “Happy Holidays/ Let Yourself Go,” “I Love a Piano” and the rousing “Blue Skies” that are a joy to watch.

The various sets are impressive as well, from a night club to the lobby of the inn to a barn, and the costumes designed by Green, from the army uniforms to the glittery gowns are top notch. The show closes with a “White Christmas” sing-along sure to get one in the holiday spirit. Running time is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes with one intermission.

The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, 2 East Main St. Smithtown kicks off its 17th season with Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas The Musical” through Dec. 30. Tickets are $38 adults, $34 seniors, $25 students. For more information or to order, call 631-724-3700 or visit www.smithtownpac.org.

Photos by Courtney Braun

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