News Column

Monrovia theater group to perform 'White Christmas' next weekend [Pasadena Star - News (CA)]

December 2, 2013

YellowBrix

MONROVIA >> A tradition in many American households, Patrick Garcia remembers gathering near the television every year with his family around Christmas time to watch the classic holiday musical "White Christmas."

And so, the artistic director of the Louise K. Taylor Performing Art Center is bringing that tradition to the Monrovia community next weekend with the stage production of "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," an adaptation of the 1954 film starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye about two veterans who help revitalize a Vermont ski lodge.

"There's no way you can't be moved, touched, affected by this music and additionally the enthusiasm and raw energy of the young kids who are part of the chorus dancing their hearts out," said Garcia.

It will be the community theater company's second show, following up its summer production of "The Music Man."

"You cannot help but attend a production like this and feel that excitement coming at you from the stage," Garcia said.

The stage production, which debuted in 2004, features new songs.

"It's a great stage version," said director Paul David Bryant. "There's a lot of tap, a lot of dance, a lot of singing. It's just a feel-good holiday musical."

The amount of choreography is a challenge for a community theater production, Bryant said.

"I will admit when Patrick first mentioned 'White Christmas,' I thought it might be a little bit over their heads," said Bryant, who was the choreographer of "The Music Man," and is a Disney choreographer. "It is an amazing show and it requires amazing skill, but we dug deep and far and found some really amazing talent."

The show stars one of Monrovia's own - Grace Osimo, a junior at Monrovia High, who plays Judy Haynes.

"They should come out, not only to support the community, but to support one of their own who is very talented, and I'm quite sure this is a side of her that I'm sure they haven't seen," said Bryant.

The production involves professional actors as well as students from Monrovia High School, where the theater is based.

"I'm delighted about that because what I wanted to provide an opportunity for students to be able to be apart of our productions, so that they understand how a professional production works," said Garcia.

Los Angeles-area actor Allen Everman, who starred in "The Music Man" as Prof. Harold Hill, returns as Phil Davis in "White Christmas."

Garcia said they had a great variety of actors audition for the production, which he said was encouraging since it is only their second project.

Later this month, the Performing Arts Center will host a performance of "The Nutcracker" from the Pasadena Dance Conservatory.

The theater will also host classes and other performances throughout the year.

Garcia said he plans to put out a survey to audience members, asking them what kinds of productions they would like to see at the theater.

"White Christmas" will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and at 5 p.m. Dec. 8.

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