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‘White Christmas’ opens at the Playhouse
play
Lauren Gentile and Ashley Cahill perform “Sisters” during a dress rehearsal of “White Christmas,” which is at the Cumming Playhouse through Dec. 15. - photo by Crystal Ledford

At a glance

“White Christmas” runs at 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 15 at the Cumming Playhouse, 101 School St. Tickets are $30, or $25 for seniors 60 and older, veterans, children 12 and younger, or groups of 25 or more. For tickets, go to www.playhousecumming.com or call (770) 781-9178.

For JD Touchton, the movie “White Christmas” has held a special place in his heart since he was a little boy.

His grandfather, A.L. Ward, introduced him to the 1954 film, which starred Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, when Touchton was about 5. They continued a tradition of watching it together every holiday season.

That connection made landing the Danny Kaye character in BK Productions’ “White Christmas,” which began a four-week run at the Cumming Playhouse on Thursday, even more special for the young actor.

“One of the main reasons I’m doing this show is in honor of my grandfather,” Touchton said. “He passed away from cancer in May and this was his favorite musical.”

Touchton joins a cast of about 25 in the local version of the holiday classic, to which tickets are selling fast.

For co-star Lauren Gentile, who plays Betty Haynes (portrayed by Rosemary Clooney in the film), being a part of the show allowed her to become a part of the Cumming community.

Gentile, who’s dad Larry is also in the show, said her family moved here from North Carolina about eight months ago.

“Theater’s a great way to meet people and being someone new in the community, I was like how do I meet people,” she said. “This has been a great experience for that.”

Kathy Russell, who is producing the show along with husband Bob, said anyone looking for top-notch musical performances should check out the show.

“It is one of the best shows the playhouse has seen,” she said. “The choreography alone is worth the price of admission. It is phenomenal.”

Choreographer Buddy Stotts, Russell said, has performed and choreographed shows everywhere from Las Vegas to Broadway.

“He and our director, Kyle Larsen, both teach ballroom dancing … so we’re blessed to have them.”

Music and dance make up a large portion of the show, entertaining audiences with such classics as “Sisters” and “Blue Skies.”

Of course, given the name, “White Christmas” and other holiday melodies are common throughout as well.

The show, a romantic comedy, tells the tale of the young Phil Davis and Bob Wallace, who have a successful song-and-dance act just after World War II, as they follow a duo of singing sisters en route to their Christmas show at a Vermont lodge.

Touchton said the production is basically a love story with great singing and dancing.

“And who doesn’t love a good love story?” he said.

“There really is something for everyone in the show, from grandparents to kids.”

As for his grandfather, Touchton said he’ll be thinking of him as he sings and dances his way through every performance.

“I did ‘42nd Street’ here and my grandfather … was very taken with it. He was very emotional and he wasn’t an emotional person, so I think he would be very excited to see me in this role.”