Looking for a joyful way to spend time with your family this holiday season? Start with a timeless tale of joy and goodwill, fill it with classic Irving Berlin songs and top it off with glorious tap dancing and lots of snow, and you’ll have an evening that is bound to be merry and bright.
“The current climate in our country, both politically and in pop culture, is not warm,” said Julie Allen, who stars as Betty Haynes in the Four Seasons Theatre Company production of White Christmas, opening this Friday. “This is a story that highlights the best in people. That is the beauty of art and theatre, you can show the best or worst of humanity. This show highlights the best. It will bring joy, and audiences will be reminded about people who are doing good things.”
Julie and her husband, Stanton, are the parents of six children (three boys and three girls) and reside in North Logan.
“This is my first production with Four Seasons and my first show in 12 years,” Julie said.
She last performed as Eliza Doolittle in a community theatre production of My Fair Lady in Buffalo, New York, 12 years ago when she was expecting her first child.
“Since then, I have taken on a supporting role,” she said.
Julie’s four oldest children enjoy performing, and were involved in four different Utah Festival Opera productions last summer.
“When this show came along, the timing felt right,” Julie said. “It is a dream role for me, and it felt like it was time to get back out there.”
One of the Allen family’s favorite holiday traditions is watching the movie version of White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney.
“We watch it, and drink hot chocolate, on the first day it snows each year,” Julie said. “It is a big tradition for us, and one of my kids look forward to it as much as Christmas day itself.”
Many families, like the Allens, are familiar with the movie which tells the story of two former servicemen buddies who join a sister act duo to perform a Christmas show in picturesque Vermont. They are able to save a struggling lodge, owned by their former commanding general, and find love along the way.
However, Julie says the stage production changes the story just enough to let it breathe.
Audiences get to know the characters in different ways and see a different, ensemble approach to the dance numbers, but the score still features beloved Berlin songs like “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” “Sisters,” “How Deep is the Ocean” and the ageless title tune.
“It has been a real joy to be a part of it,” Julie said. “I hope the community comes and supports the show, of course, but I also hope they come and benefit from it, too.”
Four Seasons Theatre Company has been voted the Cache Valley Family Magazine Best Family Entertainment for three consecutive years. This production is directed by Kody Rash, with Afton Furness as music director, Mary Savage as costume designer and Analise Chiltester and Katie Packard as choreographers.
White Christmas will be performed at the Sky View High School auditorium on Dec. 1-2, 4, 7-9. Tickets are available at fourseasonstheatre.org.