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America's hitmaker

A musical at Playhouse 19 pays tribute to Irving Berlin, one of the most prolific American songwriters of the 20th century.

Published January 13, 2006

CRYSTAL RIVER - Fans of Irving Berlin should be tapping their feet for a long time after attending a musical at Playhouse 19.

The Melody Lingers On, the Music of Irving Berlin pays tribute to the "dean of American songwriters," as he was known. His first big hit was in 1911 with Alexander's Ragtime Band, according to his official Web site.

From there, the songwriter, who was only a so-so piano player, continued to turn out hit after hit, aided by more competent keyboardists.

The Playhouse 19 production of Berlin's music includes well known hits such as White Christmas, Easter Parade, Alexander's Ragtime Band, Cheek to Cheek, There's No Business Like Show Business, Blue Skies, God Bless America and Puttin' On the Ritz.

Cast members include Peter Abrams, Mary Jefford, Hugh Phillips, Kristin Guenther, Don Maloney, Natalie Braun, Robert Brust, Monica Tichauer, Robert Allen and Jan Hunt.

The production crew is director Jackin Doxey; Alan Stewart, assistant director; Lynne Mansfield, stage manager; Terri Marwood, choreographer; and Harry Hershey, pianist.

Several other community theaters also are in production. Here's what's available:

- Agatha Christie's Black Coffee, a murder mystery involving spies and an atomic secret, is being performed at Stage West Community Playhouse, 8390 Forest Oaks Blvd., Spring Hill. Shows are Thursday and weekends through Jan. 29. Shows are 8 p.m., excepts Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15. Box office is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and an hour before each show. Call (352) 683-5113.

- The Show Palace Dinner Theatre, 16128 U.S. 19 in Hudson, will present its production of Cabaret through Feb. 26. Shows are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays and 1:30 p.m. some Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Doors open two hours before each show for included buffet and cash bar. Dinner and show tickets are $41; show only, $29.95; ages 12 and younger, $23.45 and $18.45, all plus tax and tip. For information, call toll-free 1-888-655-7469 or visit

- George M!, a musical based on the life of George M. Cohan (Yankee Doodle Dandy, You're a Grand Old Flag, Over There), continues weekends through Jan. 29 at Richey Suncoast Theatre, 6237 Grand Blvd., New Port Richey. Shows are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $15. Box office is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and an hour before each show. Call (727) 842-6777.

Information from Times files was used in this report. Jorge Sanchez covers arts and entertainment in Citrus County. Call 860-7313 or e-mail

If you go

The Melody Lingers On, the Music of Irving Berlin opens this weekend at Playhouse 19, 865 U.S. 19, Crystal River. Showtimes are 8 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students with IDs. Call the box office for reservations or more information at 563-1333. Runs through Jan. 29.

[Last modified January 13, 2006, 01:45:18]

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