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F-MHS to perform Irving Berlin's 'White Christmas'

A story about patriotism, honor and love

Will area residents wake up to a flurry of snow on Christmas Day this year? That remains to be seen. But for two weekends leading up to the special holiday, it is certain families can enjoy the musical production of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" by Fayetteville-Manlius High School thespians.

"This is the first high school production in New York state and maybe even the nation," said David Brown, musical producer and artistic director. "The rights just became available last spring so I grabbed them. There is nothing like that feeling of [knowing that] no other high school has ever done this."

Purchasing production rights usually runs around $5,000; the cost varies based on the show, the size of the auditorium and ticket prices. F-M funds its annual productions through the previous year's ticket sales.

"'White Christmas' is a beautiful story about patriotism, honor and love," Brown said. "It is a wonderful family show that all ages will enjoy."

Brown is particularly happy about this year's musical because there are six main leads and five additional supporting leads, among them great female roles. Typically, musicals have just one or two female leads, he said.

The cast is comprised of 62 actors and actresses, from ninth through 12th grade. Between the orchestra and stage crew, another 76 students are involved.

"It is a huge dance show," Brown said. "The last two shows [we did] were dark but beautiful stories about sacrifice. This [one] is a light fun-hearted two hours of dancing and singing."

Additionally, this is the first year that F-M is producing a show for two consecutive weekends.

"Students work tirelessly for three months to usually perform one weekend," he said. "This will give them and the community another week to show their talents and hard work."

The performances, which have always been scheduled to take place in the fall, were moved to December this year to experiment with timing.

"Every year, F-M has a wonderful program called Dance Marathon which raises over $100,000 for Camp Good Days, and the musical is always the week right after. So many are involved in both programs, we decided to [do] the musical earlier to see if it worked out. No matter what musical we had picked, we would have moved it to December. At the end of this year we will look at our choices again."

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