Performances are back at the historic downtown theater after renovations
By Michelle Kinsey—
Muncie Civic Theatre will present “White Christmas” on the Mainstage beginning this weekend.
Performances will be Dec. 8-10, 14-17 and 20-23. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday shows will begin at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday matinees will begin at 2:30 p.m. This show is rated PG.
Based on the 1954 film starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney, “White Christmas” features the songs of Irving Berlin and tells the story of two World War II veterans and song-and-dance men who follow a sister act to Vermont, only to discover that the nearly-bankrupt lodge they were to perform at is owned by their former commanding general.
“I have watched White Christmas every year since I was a kid,” said Brittany Kern. “It’s a family tradition. I basically have the movie memorized so I couldn’t pass up the chance to be in it.
“I play Betty Haynes, the older sister (like me), who is responsible and quick-witted, thinks she is always right (also like me), but a little unsure of herself, especially as it relates to love,” she added.
Kern, a local surgeon, participated in her first Civic production last year as the narrator for “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
Performing, she said, “takes you out of your normal ‘day-to-day concerns’ and gives you a chance to be someone else, which might be uncomfortable but can be incredibly cathartic when you embrace it.”
Embracing his first time on the Civic stage will be Joe Misiewicz (Dr. Joe to most). He will be playing the part of the General (“a gentle person who cares about his troops and their families but has to be tough at times because he’s a General”) in the production.
Misiewicz, who technically retired from Ball State University’s media department in 2012 but is still occasionally teaching there, said he has “simply enjoyed hearing the music and singing during rehearsals.”
For Director Brittany Covert, “White Christmas” is a family tradition.
“’White Christmas’ has been a holiday tradition of mine since I was a young girl watching this movie with my veteran grandfather,” she said. “With each replay, I got to him remember the wars he fought, the airmen he commanded, the friends he had and lost. His own unique experiences were reflected in the crooning voice of Bing Crosby.
“I love this show, because he loved this show. I am moved every time by the scene in the movie where the soldiers assemble to honor and surprise the General.”
To “capture some of the essence of that scene,” Covert said the theater will be honoring local veterans on stage during each performance.
“We’ve invited veterans to come see the show with their loved ones and we will announce their names, ranks, and service records and salute them from the stage,” she said.
To RSVP for complimentary veteran tickets, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Box Office at 765-288-PLAY.
The cast and crew has been nothing but merry and bright. Covert said this has been “the most upbeat and positive cast” she has worked with over the years.
“They are encouraging to one another and eager to lend a helping hand,” she said. “It is not always easy to put on a production of this size, but they have taken every obstacle in stride and worked together to overcome it. It is impossible to not be in the Christmas spirit when you hear them sing these classic songs.”
And she hopes audiences leave with plenty of that spirit as well.
“This time of year is filled with memories,” she said. “Holiday smells, songs, and tastes that fill you with love and make you remember. For me, ‘White Christmas’ is a time machine. One that takes me to a leather couch next to a blazing fire watching ‘White Christmas’ with my grandfather. I hope the audience is also transported back in time. To places, and people, and presents of the past that remind us of love.”
Kern said she hopes audiences leave “feeling like maybe the world is, in fact, a good place, that people and relationships matter, and that, at the end of the day, those you love are worth fighting for.”
And Dr. Joe said he hopes people “leave with full respect for the veterans in the audience and for those who served but [are] not in the audience, and they leave simply feeling grateful.”
This show is made possible through support by 1816 Wealth Management Partners of Raymond James; Accutech; DeFurVoran; RE/MAX Real Estate Groups; Warner Supply, and Young’s Title.
For tickets and more info, go to www.munciecivic.org.