Holiday run follows in footsteps of 'Grinch'
Gotham auds won’t have to dream of it any longer: The Broadway outing of regional franchise “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” has nailed down its holiday engagement at the Marquis Theater.Christmastime run follows in the footsteps of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” the tuner that established a similar holiday foothold for itself on the Rialto in 2006 and then returned in 2007. “Grinch” may yet provide yuletide-themed competish for “Christmas,” but a 2008 New York incarnation is not assured. This production of “Christmas,” from a producing team spearheaded by Kevin McCollum (“In the Heights”), preemed in 2004 in San Fran, and has since played stints in Boston, LA, Toronto, Minneapolis and Detroit. Other incarnations of the same production are set to play St. Paul and Detroit this year. Also on tap are different stagings of the property (licensed by the Rodgers & Hammerstein Org) in smaller-scale regional theaters. Helmed by Walter Bobbie (“Chicago”) with book by David Ives (“Is He Dead?”) and Paul Blake, “Christmas” is based on the 1954 pic toplined by Bing Crosby. Plot centers on a song-and-dance duo who stage a show at a Vermont inn. Randy Skinner (“42nd Street”) provides the choreography, with a design team including Anna Louizos (set), Carrie Robbins (costumes), Ken Billington (lights) and Acme Sound Partners (sound). With a cast of more than 30 and an orchestra of 24 musicians, large-scale musical is a risk given its limited run of 7½ weeks. Producers have said the New York production will need to play to near-capacity auds in the 1,600-seat Marquis for its entire engagement to make it into the black — although the Broadway run will likely boost the production’s value in regional markets regardless of whether it recoups on the Rialto. Joining McCollum on the production team are John Gore, Tom McGrath, book co-writer Blake, the Producing Office, Dan Markley, Sonny Everett and Broadway Across America (the producing and presenting org topped by Gore and McGrath), in association with Paramount Pictures. In Gotham, “Christmas” runs Nov. 14-Jan. 4. ‘Irving Berlin’s White Christmas,’ which has had success on the regional circuit, will begin perfs at Broadway’s Marquis Theater in November.
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