'White Christmas' is as pretty as newly fallen snow
By Matthew J. Palm
Orlando Sentinel Theater Critic|
Dec 20, at AM
It would have been easy to slack off with a show like “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.” Really, the love of the classic movie is probably enough to sell tickets — so an unscrupulous Scrooge could have put together something on the cheap.
What a lovely surprise, then, to see how much care has gone into this holiday musical, playing at Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts through Sunday.
Anna Louizos’ scenic design and Carrie Robbins’ costumes are charmingly old-fashioned. Randy Skinner’s choreography, especially in the big tap numbers, reminds us of the thrilling power of a Broadway dance spectacle. And the actors take a joyfully light-hearted touch that manages to pay tribute to the original film stars while making the roles their own.
The design of the show creates striking tableaux with distinctive color palettes — bright pink, aqua and lime green for “Let Yourself Go”; azure, white and yellow accents for “Blue Skies”; and bold red, black and white for “I Love a Piano,” a real barnburner of a tap dance.
No, there’s not any depth to the story or characters — but there never was. The plot is just an excuse to showcase the music and dancing, although Conrad John Schuck delivers a pleasing mix of gravitas and emotion as General Waverly. That’s the former soldier turned innkeeper who needs to save his hotel from the creditors in time-honored “hey, kids, let’s put on a show” fashion.
Sean Montgomery and Kerry Conte gamely play the more somber couple (Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney in the film), who just need a little Christmas magic and about two minutes of singing to realize they are in love.
Jeremy Benton (in the Danny Kaye role) has an appealing spark of energy, and he and Kelly Sheehan dance up a storm. All four leads convincingly dance with a freshness of spirit, as if they haven’t done the same routine numerous times before.
It’s a treat to see Tony-winning theater veteran Karen Ziemba as the inn’s nosy desk clerk. With a merry twinkle and a voice that retains its rafter-ringing power, she sends “Let Me Sing and I’m Happy” to the moon.
Movie buffs will notice that songs have been shifted in the plot, some streamlining has been done, and additional Berlin songs change things up from the film. But this theatrical “White Christmas” captures the movie’s warm and fuzzy spirit in fine style.
When those barn doors open and the flakes start falling, well, Christmas is here.
► Length: , including intermission
► Where: Dr. Phillips Center, S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando
► When: Through Sunday, Dec. 23
December 18–23 | Walt Disney Theater
Public onsale date: To be announced
A merry and bright musical for the whole family.
Based on the movie starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas tells the story of a song-and-dance team putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn and falling for a stunning sister act in the process. It’s full of dancing, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written—including “Happy Holiday”, “Sisters”, “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing”, “Snow” and the unforgettable title song.
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Prices, shows, artists, dates and times are subject to change at any time without notice. Every guest entering the theater, including infants and children, requires a ticket. Children under the age of two are not permitted inside the theaters, unless noted otherwise. Parents should use discretion when deciding what shows are appropriate for their children.
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Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Why See Irving Berlin's White Christmas?
MusicalsHoliday & Christmas Shows
AS WARMING AS APPLE PIE, AND FESTIVE AS A TRUCK FULL OF ELVES
The uplifting story and beloved songs of Bing Crosby' movie White Christmas have been enjoyed by families for generations. Now, you can continue the timeless tradition with your family at this glorious and exciting live production!
WHAT IS White Christmas ABOUT?
A stage adaptation of the classic film, Irving Berlin's White Christmas tells the story of two showbiz buddies, formerly old war comrades, who are tasked with staging a winter pageant in a picturesque but struggling Vermont inn owned by their old commanding officer - and find their perfect matches in the bargain. Will they be able to pull off the ultimate Christmas miracle and save the show? Well yeah, but in this case the fun is in following them on their marvellous, adventure-filled journey!
Irving Berlin's White Christmas is a merry and bright Broadway experience full of dancing, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written including Blue Skies, I Love A Piano, How Deep Is The Ocean and the iconic favorite White Christmas. Seriously recommended if you are lacking the holiday spirit, this should restore you faster than a pumpkin-spiced latte.
DID YOU KNOW?
Despite initial mixed reviews of the revival, it beat expectations and was nominated for two Tony Award nominations, for Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations.
Opening night: 18 December
Suitable for the whole family to enjoy together!
Two hours 45 minutes including one intermission
COVID 19 SECURE
You may be required to have had a COVID vaccine in order to attend this performance or show proof of a negative test. Please contact the venue directly for more information on this.
Direction & Choreography by Randy Skinner
Book by David Ives & Paul Blake
Set Design by Anna Louizos
Set Adaptation by Kenneth Foy
Costumes by Carrie Robbins
Lighting Design by Ken Billington
Sound Design by Keith Caggiano
Orchestrations by Larry Blank
Vocal & Additional Arrangements by Bruce Pomahac
Music Direction by Michael Horsley
Casting by Binder Casting
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