Story by Marianne Salza
Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” a story about a pair of WWII Army pals who hit it big as a singing and dancing duo, will be playing at the Boch Center Wang Theatre, Boston, December 17-29. In the lavish production, the talented team stages a show at a quaint Vermont inn owned by their beloved retired general; meanwhile, falling in love with a gorgeous sister act.
Bryan Thomas Hunt, a 2011 Boston Conservatory graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater, has been traveling the country, performing in the musical for the past seven years; and is thrilled to come back to Boston, where he hopes is covered with snow.
“It’s an amazing place to live and go to school,” says Hunt, who is also excited to be performing on tour with his college roommate of three years, Daniel Plimpton. “It’s wonderful as a professional returning to the place that shaped my career. I’m thankful for the gift of being able to return to the city I love so much.”
Ironically, Hunt admits that he has never seen the classic 1954 film starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. Growing up Jewish in Portland, Oregon, Hunt spent the Christmas season on exotic vacations to Hawaii and Mexico. Although he has never celebrated the holiday, “White Christmas” has been a part of Hunt’s life his entire professional career.
“It was my first job out of school,” reveals Hunt, who performed “White Christmas” for the first time at the Paper Mill Playhouse, in New Jersey, after moving to New York following graduation. “My family has seen it a bunch of times. They’re very supportive.”
Athletic Hunt — who grew up playing soccer, basketball, and baseball — laughs that he now observes Christmas every day for over two months tap dancing and singing in the ensemble.
“It’s how I met some of my closest friends and my girlfriend, Kelly Sheehan, who plays Judy Haynes. We met at a tap class in New York City,” Hunt remembers fondly. “Even though most of us don’t see our families for the holidays, we have our own family through ‘White Christmas.’ It is quite a treat to perform with people you love.”
Hunt hopes that audiences will enjoy the show’s message of friendship and family.
“One of the most cathartic moments is when the general is struggling and sees all his old Army buddies and their families together for the holidays in support of someone they love,” explains Hunt, whose eyes tear at the ending barn scene. “It’s touching.”