Dreaming of “White Christmas”
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten,
and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow
Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” opened on Friday at the historic Empire Theatre as part of the Barksdale Theatre’s 2010-2011 Signature Season. This theatrical reinvention of the classic “White Christmas” film released in 1954 features a stellar cast of Broadway actors including Kevin Earley, Andrea Rivette, Michelle Lookadoo, and Freddie Kimmel. The Barksdale’s production of “White Christmas” is directed by Patti D’Beck and is currently running now through January 9, 2011 at the Empire Theatre.
In regards to holiday-themed movies, I have seen “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol” more times than I can count but I have never seen Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” so I was delighted to have the chance to experience the Barksdale’s production to shake my sleigh bells into the holiday spirit.
The storyline consists of Bob Wallace (played by Kevin Earley) and Phil Davis (played by Freddie Kimmel) as a pair of Army buddies who created a successful song-and-dance act after World War II has ended. Judy and Betty Haynes (played by Michelle Lookadoo and Andrea Rivette, respectively) are an up-and-coming sister act that are headed to a Vermont inn booked as their holiday entertainment.
The paths of these two pairs cross and with a dash of love interests and some clever angles, all end up at the Vermont inn for the Christmas holiday. As it turns out, the owner of the inn is General Waverly (played by Barry Pruitt) commanded the Army division that Bob and Phil were a part of. Martha (played by Kathy Halenda) is the inn’s receptionist and right hand woman to the General and Susan (played by Taylor Richardson) is the General’s grand-daughter visiting from California for the holiday.
As it turns out, the inn is in a bit of financial trouble and the plot thickens to create a song-and-dance show to attract guests to the Vermont inn after a slight heat wave of sorts.
Personally, I have an appreciation for musicals because I can’t carry a tune in a bucket if I tried and I was mesmerized by the voice talent of the “White Christmas.” The on-stage chemistry between the characters kept my interest piqued and the combination of song-and-dance left me with a constant smile on my face. After experiencing Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” at the Empire Theatre, I am now ready for the holiday season and for a little Christmas magic of my own. You don’t want to miss “White Christmas” especially if you are a fan of classic Christmas music or musicals. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, how about you?
White Christmas is playing at the Empire Theatre through Jan. 9, 2011. Visit Barksdale Theatre’s website for tickets and show times.
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