According to Reed drama director Kathy King, “White Christmas” never has been available at the amateur level anywhere, said King. So when she found it was being offered, she jumped at the chance to put on the show set in the 1950s.
The musical is based on the 1954 film that centers around two World War II vets Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, who become entertainers and pair up with singing sisters Betty and Judy. Together, they go to Vermon to visit Bob and Phil’s commanding officer Gen. Waverly, who runs an old inn and, as Bob and Phil find out, is down on his luck. The pair plan a musical show enlisting the help of friends from their army days.
The stage production is full of American composer Irving Berlin’s songs, including the title song originally recorded by Bing Crosby. King promised, however, there would be other musical numbers not originally included in the film, including “I Love a Piano” and “Falling Out of Love Can Be Fun.”
Music will be an intricate part of the production, according to Reed choir teacher John Lorentzen, who teaches Intermezzo, a choir class in which some of the students are enrolled. “White Christmas” is heavily instilled with jazz harmonies that many of his students become engaged with and apply themselves to the music.
In addition to the singers, there will also be a 13-piece orchestra with digital keyboards, trumpets, trombones, flutes and strings to complement the show.
“The kids fall in love (with jazz),” Lorentzen said. “The music is toetapping.”
Lorentzen has taught at Reed for 22 years. “White Christmas” is his 21st production. He said he sees many of his singers and instrumentalists go on to community theater.
“They go on to Truckee Meadows Community College or play in the Bruka theater,” he said with pride.
Davi Johnson, a member of Intermezzo, plays one of the lead roles as Martha the innkeeper. She said the production will be “mindblowing.”
She added that she relates to her character.
“She’s funny and she’s such a busybody,” she said. “It’s very similar to who I am.”
Seniors Tyler Mason and Zach South have two of the lead roles and say the show will be an inexpensive form of quality entertainment.
“(Drama) is a great way of expressing yourself and expressing energy through facial expressions,” said Mason. “We get to show a piece of ourselves.”
Mason, who would like to go on to participate in musical theater in college or in the community, said his schedule as a student and actor has been demanding for the last two months.
“This is our life,” he said.
“It works us toward discipline,” South added. “We have to be on time … how we have to be aware of everyone else around us, every aspect.”
King said the students are very committed the show, often sacrificing other activities, friends or family time to be involved.
“The kids are so dedicated, they love doing this so much,” said Reed teacher Kathy King, who teaches math but helps produce the plays as an extracurricular activity. “Every year, they aim for a better production. Reed musicals are well-known and loved by the community.”
King credited Trish Pastore and Laura Lorentezen as previous directors for the Reed drama program who have laid the groundwork for Reed’s drama success.
As the actors prepare for the stage, Reed staff have noticed that ticket sales this year have been bolstered by a new means of purchasing. A Web site called Showtix4u.com allows community members to buy the tickets on the Internet, which, according to Pam Lacy, who’s coordinating the sales, is the dominating preference for community members who will be seeing the play.
“We have seen a surge in ticket sales,” Lacy said. “They can do it on their own time.”
Lacy said 340 tickets are available for each show time. As of Friday, nearly 1,100 tickets had been sold, with 62 percent of the closing night seats filled.
Those who do want to see the play can still purchase tickets online, by calling (866) 967-8167 or at Reed High School between 4 and 6:30 p.m.
There is a caveat with the online sales, however. Sales close at 3 p.m. each day so anyone wanting to purchase tickets have to go to Reed between 3 and 7 p.m.
“White Christmas” opens Thursday, with shows on Friday and Saturday and Dec. 16 through 19 at 7 p.m., except for Dec. 19, which is a matinee show at 2 p.m. Tickets cost between $10 and $12.
For questions about tickets, call Reed High School at 353-5700.