Ogunquit Playhouse production

Sally Struthers helps deliver ‘White Christmas’ to Portsmouth

November 29. 2017 12:41PM
The Ogunquit Playhouse (seen here in a previous performance of “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, The Musical”) returns to The Music Hall in Portsmouth with two dozen performances of the holiday classic. 
If you go...
WHAT: 'Irving Berlin;s White Christmas, the Musical'

WHEN: Through Dec. 17

TICKETS: $34 to $66 for Thursday's previews at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Opening night is Friday, with cost for December shows set at $40 to $91 for shows Wednesdays and Thursdays and $44 to $94 for Friday and Saturday performances.

INFO: 436-2400; www.themusichall.org

The Ogunquit (Maine) Playhouse’s stage production of “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” gets two previews today before officially opening its run at The Music Hall in Portsmouth Friday night.

The sweeping, snow-draped New England landscape and the goodwill-minded theme of this classic tale have become an iconic backdrop to Christmas celebrations over the decades.

The nostalgic story first captured hearts in Paramount Picture’s 1954 film in which a showbiz song-and-dance duo (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) teams up with a talented sister act (Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen) in hopes of saving a floundering Vermont inn and honoring a beloved war veteran in the process.

The musical adaptation, with the book by David Ives and Paul Blake, features 17 Berlin songs including “Blue Skies,” “Sisters,” “Count Your Blessings” and the perennial favorite, “White Christmas.”

The Ogunquit Playhouse returns to the Music Hall with a stage show set to run through Dec. 17. Cast and crew offered a sneak peak yesterday and will do run-throughs at 2 and 7:30 p.m. today before its opening weekend performances — 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and noon and 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Kate Loprest and Vanessa Sonon star as the beloved Haynes Sisters, alongside Broadway veterans David Elder (Bob Wallace) and Jacob Ben Widmar (Phil Davis.)

In addition, the musical features Emmy-winning actress Sally Struthers as Martha Watson, the inn’s housekeeper and second-in-command. Struthers gained fame in the 1970s as Gloria Stivic on the “All in the Family” sitcom and the movies “Five Easy Pieces” with Jack Nicholson and “The Getaway” with Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw.”

But her stage career also spans decades and has earned accolades. Her first two Broadway forays were in “Wally’s Café” with Rita Moreno and Jimmy Coco and Neil Simon’s female version of the “Odd Couple” with Brenda Vaccaro. For three years she starred as “Miss Mamie Lynch” on Broadway and on tour in the Tommy Tune production of “Grease.” In the 20th Anniversary National Tour of Annie, Sally played the coveted role of “Miss Hannigan.”

And there have been roles in “Always, Patsy Cline,” “Mame” and “Witches of Eastwick” along the way.

On TV, she appeared on the Fox series “9 to 5,” CBS series “Gloria,” CBS comedy “Still Standing” and the CW series “Gilmore Girls,” and joined the Gilmore cast for Netflix’s four-movie limited revival, which premiered in the fall of 2016.

She recently guest starred in the IFC comedy series “Maron.”

Struthers’ television movies include “A Gun in the House,” “And Your Name is Jonah,” “The Great Houdinis,” “Hey, I’m Alive,” “In The Best Interest of the Children,” “Deadly Silence,” “My Husband is Missing” and “Intimate Strangers.”

NH Weekend Editor Julia Ann Weekes contributed to this story.

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