Monday, November 28, 2022

Irving Berlin’s "White Christmas" is a Holiday Spectacular!

by Charles "Ebbie" Alfree, III

Based on the beloved Paramount Pictures film, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas follows two friends and performers, Bob Wallace (Chris Fitting) and Phil Davis (Bryan Jeffrey), from their time serving in World War II in 1944 with General Waverly (Paul McElwee) to appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1954, and eventually ending up at a Vermont inn after meeting Betty and Judy Haynes (Rebecca Schall and Deirdre Treacy), a sister nightclub act.

Complicated romances ensue, and a slew of Vermonters and show people from New York City are introduced. A series of comical and heartwarming situations lead to the grand, happy finale that leaves the audience ready to enjoy the holiday season!

The show is full of Mr. Berlin’s most iconic songs, sumptuously performed by the stellar cast under the fine music direction of Julia Kershetsky and stirring choreography by Jody Anderson. With numbers including Happy Holidays, Sisters, Snow, and of course, the title song, it’s hard not to smile, tap your toes, and dare I say — sing along! The show includes an exciting, seven-minute tap number; I Love a Piano, choreographed by Scott Jacobs and led by Ms. Treacy that brings down the house!

Director Rebecca May Flowers' pacing is perfect for the delightful show. She’s assembled a great group of artists both on and behind the stage. The four leads are fantastic! Mr. Fitting and Mr. Jeffery are charming and they expertly play off of each other.

Bob is the more serious, business-minded of the two, while Phil is a fun-loving go-with-the-flow kind of person. Both men bring much enjoyment to their songs, especially when performing together during Happy Holiday/Let Yourself Go.

Ms. Schall and Ms. Treacy are superb. Both are fabulous as the sisters who steal the men’s hearts. Ms. Schall’s rendition of Love You Didn’t do Right by Me is heartbreakingly beautiful.

Ms. Treacy is exceptional as the feisty Judy. Her dancing is exquisite. Once she steps on top of the piano and continues tapping during the I Love a Piano number, she becomes a star!

The cast is rounded out by a great ensemble, including the wonderful Mr. McElwee as the general who now owns the inn and hysterical Trudy Graboyes as Martha Watson, the inn’s front desk clerk and one time Broadway performer.

With the work of Lighting Designer, Matthew J. Kator; Scenic Designer/Scenic Artist, Jeff Reim; and Props/Set Designer, Amanda Gillies, the stage becomes an enchanting winter wonderland with a Christmas tree and snow! Since The Candlelight Theatre is housed in the former Harvey Barn, the whole space seems to be a part of the show!

The cast is beautifully dressed by costumer Timothy Lamont Cannon. Ms. Schall’s and Ms. Treacy’s final gowns are breathtaking! Wig, Hair, and Makeup Stylist, Clayton Stacey brilliantly complements Mr. Cannon's costumes. His wigs are gorgeous! Both men perfectly capture the 1950s time period with their work.

Get into the holiday spirit by seeing White Christmas in an actual barn at The Candlelight Theatre! The show runs through December 23. Visit www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org for information and tickets.

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