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Published: Thursday, 12/20/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

It will be a 'White Christmas' in Monroe

Tracy Glover plays Betty Haynes and Denny Connors is Bob Wallace in ‘Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.’ Tracy Glover plays Betty Haynes and Denny Connors is Bob Wallace in ‘Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.’

MONROE -- It's been a long wait for Irving Berlin's White Christmas opening Friday at the River Raisin Centre for the Arts.

"We did it two years ago and people were calling last year to see if we were going to do this as a holiday tradition. I wish we could do it every year as a tradition but being so large it isn't possible," said Tracy Glover, a director of the River Raisin Music Theatre Company production.

She is reprising her role as songstress Betty Haynes, who catches the eye of Bob Wallace, played by Denny Connors, who is directing with Glover. Joining them onstage is Carolyn Sohoza as Judy Haynes, and Brad Lieto as Bob's war buddy and sidekick Phil Davis. The performing duo follow the sister-act to a Vermont lodge with romance in mind.

The 1954 film of the same name starred Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen, and Rosemary Clooney. The stage score features "White Christmas," "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me," "Blue Skies," and "I Love a Piano," to name a few. "It's a cool score," Glover said.

"It's one of my favorite movies. There are some differences in the plot line when they adapted it to stage. At first I said, 'I don't like that,' but it adds a little twist to it and that's kind of cool," she said.

About 80 percent of the cast is back from the 2010 production. "We all love working together. The rehearsal process isn't so much work; it's fun," Glover said. The cast will be accompanied by a 21-piece orchestra directed by Mark Felder.

"Irving Berlin's White Christmas" will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at River Raisin Centre for the Arts, 114 S. Monroe St., Monroe. Additional performances will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 28 and Dec. 29. There will be a 3 p.m. matinee on Dec. 30. Tickets are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors, and $15 for students. Information: 734-242-7722 or riverraisincentre.org.

Ogre Onstage

VAN WERT -- Shrek -- The Musical will dance its way across stage Saturday at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio.

This Dreamworks Theatrical and NETworks Presentations LLC production is based on characters from William Steigs' book Shrek! The swamp-dwelling Shrek goes on a journey to reclaim the deed to his land. He and Donkey wind up fighting a dragon and rescuing Fiona. The musical opened on Broadway in December, 2008, and won a 2009 Tony Award for Best Costume Design. It closed January, 2010, after 441 performances.

The 2001 animated film featured the voices of Mike Myers as Shrek and Eddie Murphy as the incorrigible Donkey. Cameron Diaz provided the voice of Fiona, the princess who stole the ogre's heart. It was followed by Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, and Shrek Forever After. The Shrek success also prompted two holiday specials: Shrek the Halls and Scared Shrekless.

"Shrek The Musical" will be performed at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday at Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio. Ticket prices range from $22 to $57. Information: 419-238-6722 or www.npacvw.org.

Red Ryder

SANDUSKY -- Let's hope little Ralphie doesn't shoot his eye out this weekend when A Christmas Story comes to life during Sandusky State Theatre's dinner theater production.

Ralphie Parker, 9, longs for a Red Ryder BB gun in this Christmas classic set in the 1940s small-town Indiana. The 1983 film version starred Peter Billingsley as Ralphie, who couldn't stop dreaming of that BB gun. Who can forget the fishnet stocking leg lamp or the giant pink bunny suit or the tongue stuck on the frozen lamppost? The story is based on the writings of Jean Shepherd.

"A Christmas Story" dinner theater performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at the Sandusky State Theatre, 107 Columbus Ave., Sandusky. Show only adult ticket prices range from $18 to $21. Student tickets are $12. Adult dinner and show ticket prices range from $36 to $39. Student dinner and show tickets are $30. Dinner is at 6:30. Information: 419-626-1950 or sanduskystate.com.

Send theater items at least two weeks in advance to jnjaim@theblade.com.

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