White Christmas Coming to Munster

     Theatre at the Center Artistic Director Linda Fortunato has cast Matt Edmonds as Bob, Justin Brill as Phil, Casiena Raether as Judy, Erica Stephan as Betty and Neil Friedman as General Waverly in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, a musical based on Paramount Pictures’ 1954 film of the same name starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen and Dean Jagger. Fortunato is the director and choreographer and William Underwood is the music director.  Previews begin Nov. 14 with Opening Night Nov. 17 and continued run through Dec. 22.  

     Based on the heartwarming and timeless film, the musical adaptation of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas premiered in St. Louis in 2000 and opened on Broadway in 2008 followed by a national tour.  Drawn to romance, the two follow a duo of beautiful singing sisters en route to their Christmas stage show booked at a Vermont lodge, which just happens to be owned by Bob and Phil’s former army commander. The dazzling score features classic songs like “Blue Skies,” “I Love A Piano,” “How Deep is the Ocean” and the perennial holiday favorite and title tune “White Christmas.”   

     Matt Edmonds (Bob) was last seen at TATC as Sparky in Forever Plaid, as L.M. in Pump Boys and Dinettes and as part of the ensemble in Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  He also appeared in It’s A Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago at the American Blues Theatre, Murder for Two at Marriott Lincolnshire and Death of a Salesman at Redtwist Theatre.

     Justin Brill (Phil), was previously seen at TATC in the role of Jimmy Winter in Nice Work If You Can Get It and as Dennis in All Shook Up (a role he also played in the original Broadway production).  In recent years, he has appeared as Amos in Chicago and Bert in 42nd Street at the Drury Lane Theatre.

     Casiena Raether (Judy) was seen at TATC as Fraulein Kost in Cabaret and also appeared in TATC in A Wonderful Life.   She also played Belinda in Noises Off and Kitty in The Drowsy Chaperone at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

     Erica Stephan (Betty) last appeared at TATC as Billie Bendix in Nice Work If You Can Get It.   She appeared in Wonderful Town at the Goodman Theatre, as Cosette in Les Miserables at the Paramount Theatre and also in The Little Mermaid at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.

    Neil Friedman was seen at TATC last year as Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street and in A Wonderful Life in 2017.  He most recently appeared in The Adventures of Augie March at Court Theatre and Newsies at Paramount Theatre.

     Linda Fortunato is in her fourth season as Theatre at the Center’s Artistic Director, where her most recentcredits include directing The Pajama Game.  She also directed and choreographed Dames at Sea, Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical, Ghost: The Musical, Steel Magnolias, Big River, The Tin Woman, Cabaret, Annie Warbucks and A Christmas Story.  Fortunato was choreographer for TATC productions such as Spamalot, Big Fish, A Christmas Carol: The Musical, Guys and Dolls, Crazy for You and Fiddler on the Roof.  She has been nominated for five Joseph Jefferson Awards for her work as a choreographer and director and received both the Equity and Non-Equity Jeff Awards for Outstanding Choreography in the 2013-14 season, garnering Theatre at the Center’s first award for her choreography of 42nd Street.     

     The creative team for White Christmas includes Scenic Designer Jack Magaw, Lighting Designer Denise Karczewski, Sound Designer Barry G. Funderburg, Costume Designer Brenda Winstead, Prop Designer Melissa Geel and Wig Designer Kevin Barthel.   Stage manager is Jessica Banaszak.   Linda Fortunato is teamed with TATC General manager Richard Friedman and Ann Davis, TATC Head of Production.

     Founded in 1991, the 410-seat is a year-round professional theater at its home.  The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road in Munster, Indiana.   TATC is an accessible venue with plenty of free parking and is located off I-80/94, just 35 minutes from downtown Chicago.

     Performances are 2:00 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 7:30 p.m. Fridays; 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays; and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays.   Individual ticket prices range from $42 – $46.   To purchase individual tickets, call the Box Office at 219-836-3255.   Group discounts are available for groups of 11 or more.   Student tickets are $20 and gift certificates are also available.   For more information on Theatre at the Center, visit www.TheatreAtTheCenter.com

Sue Baxter