Do you have room on your holiday wish list? If so, be sure to add the Shubert Theatre's delightful present of "Irving Berlin's White Christmas." Just in time to usher in the New Year, it will play from Tuesday, December 30 to Sunday, January 4 and what better way to begin 2015. In 1954, “White Christmas” was made into a movie of the same name starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. Now it is coming to the stage in all its sentimental glory, with book by David Ives and Paul Blake.
Irving Berlin, the immigrant son of a Russian cantor, wrote a significant portion of America’s Songbook. Capable of composing one song, music and lyrics, every day, he would begin writing at 8 p.m. and frequently continue until 4 or 5 in the morning. Ironically, Berlin, a Jew, is credited with two of the greatest holiday songs, “Easter Parade” and the world favorite “White Christmas,” as well as with the grand patriotic anthem “God Bless America.”
The stirring musical, “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” is set when the world was struggling with the repercussions of World War II. It tells the tale of two charming and talented soldiers, James Clow as Bob Wallace and Jeremy Benton as his pal Phil Davis, who enjoy entertaining the troops with a holiday variety show. This song-and-dance team continues their act after the war and meet up with a singing sister duo, Kristen Beth Williams as Betty Haynes and Kaitlyn Davidson as her sister Judy. About to part company, the guys heading to Florida to work and the girls going north, a swift change of train tickets finds all four at an inn in Vermont for Christmas.
A lack of snowfall, a need for guests, a little romance, an avalanche of singing and dancing and a reunion with General Waverly, played by Conrad John Schuck, from their army days all combine into a whirlwind of fun. Songs like "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep," "Sisters," "Blue Skies" and "White Christmas" are all guaranteed crowd pleasers.
The show is a big movie musical that will make you feel good and smile throughout. It was originally written when the country was in bad shape and needed to feel better and be entertained, a situation not so different today.
For tickets ($15-110), call the Shubert Theatre, 247 College Street, New Haven at 203-562-5666 or online at www.shubert.com. Performances are Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, New Year's Eve at 8 p.m., Thursday New Year's Day at 1 p.m. Friday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
End your 2014 on a high note or start 2015 with a bang by making the Shubert Theatre your stepping off point for a joyous holiday celebration with enough music and dance to fill an inn in Vermont to the brim of entertainment.