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Behind the Curtain of Sarasota High School Theatre’s “White Christmas”

by Lacey Knispel, Drama teacher at Sarasota High School

SARASOTA COUNTY, December 10, 2019 – From December 11 to December 14, Sarasota High School will be hosting performances of “White Christmas”. Irving Berlin’s classic tale tells the story of two ex-Army pals as they team up with a pair of sisters to put on a show to save a remote Vermont ski lodge that’s fallen on hard times. With show stopping numbers, a bit of romance, some mischief, and a lot of heart, this is the musical we have all been dreaming of!

This is the second time the Sarasota High theatre department has produced the beloved musical, and director Lacey Knispel says there's a very good reason why.

"’White Christmas” is a beautiful story for many reasons, but I think the one that resonates the most is the idea of human goodness. In this day and age, it feels like all we see in the news and in social media is negativity—that there is no hope for humanity. “White Christmas” reminds us that we all have an innate desire to look out for our fellow man, and encourages us to do so."

Fans of the 1954 holiday classic will find some new songs and characters, but will be happy to find that the story remains the same… Two old Army pals, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, find themselves going to an inn in Vermont instead of to Miami where they are supposed to be holding their Florida tryout for their new Broadway review. Bob is less than thrilled to find out that this accident was not quite accidental, and is ready to leave the inn and hop a train back to Miami. On his way out the door, his old Army General, Henry Waverly, walks in. When Bob and Phil find out that the inn belongs to their beloved General, who has fallen on hard times, they, and a whole cast and crew, readjust their holiday plans, give up their Florida tryout, and bring their whole show up to the inn to help the General get himself out of the red. It is an act of sacrifice, not just for Bob and Phil, but for a whole slew of people who work for them and don't even know the General. This story of selfless love transcends time, and leaves the audience encouraged and hopeful.

With flashy dance numbers, easy-to-love characters, and, of course, several miscommunications and hilarious mix-ups, this show is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Dana Zolla (Sophomore, c/o 2022), co-student dance captain, is very excited to share the show with the community.

"Our cast has been a dream. Siobhan Boyle (Junior, c/o 2021) and I have enjoyed working on this performance. We've be allowed to choreograph some of the numbers and our peers have worked so hard to make sure the vision is well-executed."

The rehearsal process has been fun for the director too.

"We have a lot of new faces this year, and a fabulous student leadership team of kids who've been in our program for years,” said Knispel. “I love the first show of the year because I love seeing old and new members come together to create something special. It makes me excited for the future of the program."

For tickets and information, please visit www.shstheater.com.

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