Classic closes out old Little Theater |

Classic closes out old Little Theater

Provided to the TribuneSouth Tahoe High School students Chelsea Wightman and Nick Kushner are appearing in the school's musical production of "White Christmas," playing at the school's Little Theatre through Sunday.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – South Tahoe High School is dreaming of a “White Christmas” and a whole lot more.

This weekend’s Performing Arts Department’s onstage production of the Irving Berlin musical will be the final play in the Little Theater for perhaps two years.

More than $6 million from Measure G – a $64.5 million school bond passed by district voters in November 2008 – will go toward modernization of the theater and performing arts building. An additional $7.5 million is going into construction of a digital arts building.

The new Little Theater, which was last renovated in 1976, is scheduled to be ready for students in fall 2011.

“It’s very exciting, but my learning curve is going to have to escalate about a hundredfold in order to keep up technically,” said Nannette Livbeth Niven, a drama teacher and theater director for 13 years.

But for now Niven is challenged by a lack of technology and a production which requires elaborate costumes.

“White Christmas” has 50 cast members and a 25-piece orchestra, which includes some members from the Tahoe Dance Band.

Niven said this is the first year “White Christmas” was made available for high schools. The first stage production was in 2004 in San Francisco. It went on Broadway last year.

Chris Yarrow will be filling the shoes of the Bing Crosby character.

“I think Chris is more charming than Bing Crosby, but I don’t want to offend any Bing Crosby fans,” Niven said.

“Miss” Marcia Sarosic is the choreographer, Bob Grant is the vocal director, and Casson Scowcroft is the musical director and conductor. Niven’s husband Drake, a building contractor, put together the sets.

“This will be fun for the whole family,” Niven said. “And for people who haven’t seen the movie, it’s a wonderful opportunity for a holiday treat.”

Niven, who has directed about 40 school performances, said she will have to be creative to find other venues for plays while the Little Theater is renovated with state-of-the-art lighting and seating.

“Maybe we will use middle school multipurpose rooms,” she said. “I’ll just have to think outside of the box.”

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