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Canfield Players present ‘White Christmas’

November 17, 2016
By J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

A small cast of 40 Canfield High School students will perform tap dance and jazz numbers in a colorful array of costumes this weekend as they present the musical, "Irving Berlin's White Christmas."

The Canfield Players will perform 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the high school auditorium.

"This is the smallest show I have ever done for a musical," Canfield Players director Becky Heikkinen said.

Article Photos

Playing lead in the Canfield Players’ performance of “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” are, in front, Helen Neff as Susan, in second row, Hayley Tura as Betty, Lexi Denney as Martha Watson, Kate Hartshorn as Judy, and in back row, Mitchell Halley as General Waverly, Zachery Bernat as Phil, Jonathan Scurich as Bob, and Elijah Mt. Castle.

Heikkinen said she normally has around 80 students in a cast, but for "White Christmas," the 40 members were all who were needed. An additional 20 are serving in the set crew, and there is a 10-piece orchestra providing live music.

Although the cast is smaller, the cost is right on track. She expects the performances to cost around $20,000, which includes $3,000 on chorus costumes, $3,000 on rental costumes, $3,000 for music rights, and $5,000 for custom drapes.

"Between the gate and sales projects, we always seem to cover the costs," Heikkinen said.

Auditions for the performance were held the first week of school. Early on, Heikkinen had to teach the dancers to tap. She said of the 40 dancers, only a couple of them even knew about the dance form. Now, she has 40 well-practiced tap dance performers who will bring the dance floor clacks alive.

"Irving Berlin's White Christmas," the musical, is loosely based on the 1954 movie by the same name that featured Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. While there are minor plot divergences in the musical, the skeleton of the "White Christmas" movie plot remains intact.

Two army buddies, after serving in the 151st division in World War II, get together and go on to form a successful duet, Wallace and Davis.

Bob Wallace, played by Jonathan Scurich, is the straight man to Phil Davis, played by Zach Bernat, the fun-loving ladies' man. The two meet their counterparts in Betty and Judy Haynes, played by Haley Tura and Kate Hartshorn, who are sisters of an old army friend.

Among some of the musical numbers in the performance, that were made famous in the original movie, are "Snow," "What Can You Do With a General?" "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me / How Deep Is the Ocean," "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm," and in the end there's a "White Christmas."

Tickets are available by calling the school ticket line at 330-702-7128 or at the door. Tickets are $14 for adults and $10 for students. The production is recommended for the entire family.



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