WHITE CHRISTMAS Cast Celebrates 100th Year of New Haven's Shubert Theater
What better way to commemorate the 100th birthday of one of the nation's most storied theaters - The Shubert Theater in New Haven, Connecticut - than with a special video starring the national company of Irving Berlin's White Christmas, the first show to take the stage in the theater's centennial year?
That's exactly how members of the national touring company of Irving Berlin's White Christmas (which plays New Haven December 30-January 4) have chosen to mark the theatrical milestone, thanks to the efforts of the remarkably gifted and talented quartet of Danny Gardner, Drew Humphrey, Jake Primmerman and Michael Horsley, who have put together a "Show" within their holiday show to celebrate the momentous occasion of the theater's 100th year.
The 1600-seat theater, located at 247 College Street in New Haven was designed by New York architect Albert Swazey, and was opened in 1914 by the Shubert Organization. Since then, the theater has hosted some of the best-known musical productions that have defined American musical theater, including Leave it to Me (with Sophie Tucker and Mary Martin), Oklahoma! (with Alfred Drake and Celeste Holm), Carousel, Annie, Get Your Gun (starring Ethel Merman), South Pacific (with Mary Martin and Ezio Pinzo), The King and I (starring Yul Brenner), My Fair Lady (with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews), The Sound of Music (starring Mary Martin), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Theatre (starring Zero Mostel) and Flora, the Red Menace (featuring the debut of Liza Minnelli in her first Broadway-bound production).
"The last time I played the Shubert I was on as Billy Lawlor in the national tour of 42nd Street," remembers Jeremy Benton, who plays Phil Davis in the national tour. "One of the coolest things I remember is a bit of Fun Shubert trivia: the crew sign bricks on the wall up in the fly rail for most shows...There is one up there with "Away We Go, 1943" (original title for Oklahoma!) scribbled on it. Makes you feel proud to tap across those boards each night! Happy 100th, Shubert!"
Drew Humphrey, who is part of the ensemble for Irving Berlin's White Christmas, recalls that "I played the Shubert Theater ten years ago on a tour and felt very moved by its rich history. Upon hearing that Irving Berlin's White Christmas was going to be the first show after its Centennial, I was thrilled to help create a video honoring their commitment to presenting "SHOWS!"
The Shubert has also been home to some of the greatest plays in theatrical history, including Born Yesterday (starring Judy Holliday), A Streetcar Named Desire (with Jessica Tandy and Marlon Brando), Mister Roberts (starring Henry Fonda), Long Day's Journey Into Night (starring Jason Robards) and A Raisin in the Sun (with Ruby Dee and Sidney Poitier).
Danny Gardner, who plays Mike Nulty in Irving Berlin's White Christmas, and who was one of the four people responsible for the commemorative video, says "I'm extremely excited to be a part of the first show of the Shubert's 101st season. The theater has such a huge history in presenting shows and helping shows develop that it will be an honor to be a small part of their history. The video was extremely fun to make because our cast was very enthusiastic. They were very amicable in giving their time on travel days, in between shows, and even during shows! It was a pleasure!"
"I love being part of the 100th year celebration for New Haven's Shubert Theatre," says music director Michael Horsley. "I've seen a lot of self-made videos of cast members across the country and it was immediately decided to collaborate with these talented gentlemen while out on tour. Being part of this historical celebration was the perfect reason to create this video. The cast was so giving and gave us the opportunity to get together and play."
Irving Berlin's White Christmas stars James Clow as "Bob Wallace," Jeremy Benton as "Phil Davis," Trista Moldovan as "Betty Haynes," and Kaitlyn Davidson as "Judy Haynes." Also featured are Pamela Myers as "Martha Watson," Conrad John Schuck as "General Waverly," Ryan Reilly as "Ralph Sheldrake," Danny Gardner as "Mike Nulty," Cliff Bemis as "Ezekiel Foster," and Elizabeth Crawford and Ava DellaPietra as "Susan Waverly." Rounding out the cast are Maddy Apple, Craig Blake, Maria Rose Briggs, Laurie DiFilippo, Joe Grandy, Drew Humphrey, Guy Mannick, Ann-Ngaire Martin, Amanda Phillips, Kristyn Pope, Jake Primmerman, Sean Quinn, Rachel Rhodes-Devey, Katie Rooney, Natasha Scearse, Daniel J. Self, Kelly Sheehan and Kelly Skidmore.
For ticket information about the show's run at The Shubert Theater in New Haven, go to www.irvingberlinswhitechristmas.com.