Dream of a “White Christmas” at Yavapai College

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, look no further than Yavapai College, where the school’s music department is putting on Irving Berlin’s tale of joy and goodwill.

After putting on, “It’s a Wonderful Life” last year, which sold more tickets than the college has ever sold for a show, the school was looking for another Christmas property that had a name people would instantly identify, said Director Scott Neese. As a song and film, “White Christmas” is up there as one of the most popular, Neese said. In fact, the stage production is still touring, he said.

“We just thought with that name that we’re going to be able to catch people and there were going to be some really positive expectations that they’re going to walk in the door with,” Neese said. “That’s what we’re hoping to exceed.”

Showing from Thursday, Dec. 14 to Sunday, Dec. 17, all shows are at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St.

With “White Christmas” being as popular as it is, the biggest challenge has been those expectations, Neese said. People come in who have seen the movie on a yearly basis or at least know about it, he said.

“There’s no way that we can stage the movie. It’s too big,” Neese said. “But we can bring to mind those same types of feelings and suggest the Western Front and suggest some of those things.”

They also had to create a dance numbers similar to or rivaling those found in the film, he said. That meant putting on some heavy tap numbers, which is not something that has been featured on Yavapai’s stage before, Neese said.

One big difference between the film and stage version is that the former had seven Irving Berlin songs, he said. The stage show has 21 of them, Neese said.

“They went through the Irving Berlin catalogue and they actually found songs that really furthered the story,” he said. “That they could put in the stage musical kind of genre, really making sure that it hit the motional notes and kind of furthered the story.”

As such, there are the standards of “Blue Skies,” “Snow” and “White Christmas” along with songs such as “Let Yourself Go” and “I Love a Piano,” Neese said. Further, after the curtain call, there’s one more song with a huge dance number, he said.

Tickets for adults range from $25 to $35 and tickets for youth under 18 are $10. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ycpac.com, by calling the box office at 928-776-2000 or at the door.