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White Christmas magic in Columbia
White Christmas  8810

COLUMBIA — The magic of snowflakes drifting down during a Sunday matinee of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” musical brought holiday magic to the historic Fallon House Theater in Columbia State Park.

A full house enjoyed the charm of the old theater with a cast of highly experienced professional actors who gave it their all in the play that opened on Nov. 3 and will continue until Dec. 17.

It’s an easy drive up to Sonora to see the Christmas play. A trip to the Fallon House theatre always starts with a stop at the old ice cream parlor in the lobby with the choice of eight flavors.

The play centered around a major general who had returned home from the Army in 1944 with his 17,000 surviving soldiers spread about the country that were continuing to respect him and sing his praises. He had lost track of those men and had retired to run a rustic inn in upstate New England where he was facing bankruptcy due to a lack of business. That changes when his soldiers gave him all their support. 

Actor Ty Smith is General Waverly. Smith acts his part so very well from the role of a strict Army commander to a warm and loving grandfather to his 10-year-old granddaughter Susan.  He eventually melted to the crowd of soldiers’ presence he found waiting for him inside his inn that recognized him for his service in a surprise celebration. He was still able to bark commands to his troops imagining them in the audience.

The granddaughter was a jewel in the play. Ruby Elaine James was ecstatic in her return to the Sierra Repertory Theater stage and acted as a veteran in her acting persona.  Previous SRT credits for her included Gretel in the Sound of Music, Gracie Shinn in the Music Man and Ensemble for State Fair.  Other favorite roles included Annie and Jojo in Seussical.

Two soldiers in lead roles of their own,  Jordan Cyphert as Bob Wallace and Chaz Feuerstine as Phil Davis, were phenomenal in their continuing scenarios with the two beautiful and outgoing blonde “sisters” Fiona McIntyre as Judy Haynes and Hannah Zilber as Betty Haynes both making their debut at the Fallon House Theater. 

The two actresses put the total spirit of the Christmas season into the play for all to enjoy.  Off Broadway Fiona has performed in “Endangered”, “A Christmas Carol”, “Dames at Sea”, “Little Shop of Horrors” and “The Wizard of Oz”.

Hannah has acted successfully too in Sister Act as Sister Mary Martin, of “Tours: Big River and Aida”.  Her other favorites were “All Shook Up, How to Succeed”, “The Marvelous Wonderettes”, and “Nice Work if You Can Get It.”

An ensemble of actors and actresses was truly fantastic in their presentations. And then there was the comical Don Biloti who played the part of Ezekiel Foster with his one effective line in greeting and responding to cast members, “Ah Yup!” He was a founding member of the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival and most recently the lead of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Columbia Christmas Carol at Fallon House.

The theater offers evening shows most days during the week and matinees on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Ticket reservations are available at The ticket office is open from 11 until 5 Tuesday through Saturday, phone (209) 532-3120.

The theater is three miles west of Sonora off Highway 108.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email