MUST BE BEAUTIFUL IN VERMONT THIS TIME OF YEAR...

For many years, one of my holiday traditions was to watch the film White Christmas with my best friend Legume (also known as Brian, Honkey, the Judge, etc.). I've probably seen that film at least 50 times, because often I watch more than once per season. I can quote most of the lines- including the jazzy lingo supposedly improvised by Bing Crosby- and sing most of the songs. Not well, mind you- but so what? I love the movie, and it is inscribed in my brain. As such, I have avoided going to see any stage productions of Irving Berlin's White Christmas, mainly out of fear of comparing it in my head to the film and being sorely disappointed.



Happily, I decided to forgo that self-imposed rule and go see White Christmas at the Fine Arts Center in Colorado Springs. This decision was based largely on their impressive track record of exciting and pertinent theatre. I have never seen a bad show there. Ever. I am very glad to report that the FAC has done it yet again with a heart-warming, funny, exhilarating production. This is a great show, from start to finish- full of fantastic performances, wonderful music, and just the right amount of whimsy. If you can get a ticket- which will be hard- I highly recommend you go see it.

The show itself wisely is not a mere stage version of the beloved film, but a new take on the story rewritten by David Ives and Paul Blake from the original screenplay by Narman Krasna, Morman Panama, and Melvin Frank. Most of the story is there, but with enough variations to make it a brand new take on the classic tale. Several songs have been excised from the film version, and several other songs either expanded, or added- all to wonderful effect. I won't bother you with a story synopsis. Suffice to say, it's a heart-warming romantic comedy set mostly in 1954.

The cast is superb, top to bottom. Matt Gibson as Bob Wallace is outstanding, He sings like an angel and conveys a simple honesty perfect for the role. And as Phil Davis,  Zachary Seliquini Guzman is a wonder. He's hilarious, dances even better than Danny Kaye, and can sing the you-know-what out of any song. As Betty, the more practical of the Haynes sisters, Mackenzie Sherburne is outstanding. And Alannah Vaughn, as the more bubbly Judy Haynes, is a delight. Both ladies are amazing performers, with gorgeous voices. And they harmonize is that way that makes your spine tingle with joy. Jan Lennon, as busy body and show-stopping Martha Watson, is hilarious, strong, and a powerhouse singer. Mark Rubald, as General Waverly is outstanding. Rubald brings a quiet dignity and charm to the role, and turns in one of the shows best performances. As Jimmy, a curmudgeonly but lovable Vermont local, Mike Miller almost steals the show. I say almost, because the night I saw the show, Ellie Levy did steal the show- lock, stock, and barrel. Levy (who is alternating with Lena Olson in the role of Susan Waverly) is just a sweet heart of an actor, and every moment she was on stage rocked. The ensemble is outstanding- each and every performer sings, dances, and acts with incredible talent and energy.

The always amazing Nathan Halvorson directs and choreographs the show with style. The show moves at a perfect clip, and each number is sharp and leaves the audience wanting more. My particular favorite is Blue Sky, which closes out Act One. The band, led by Jay Hahn, is top notch.

So, to sum it up- this show shines on it's own merits, is a beautiful rendition of the stage version of the classic film, and a must see for anyone who loves good musical theatre.

God bless us, everyone.

Comments

curtis03 Lewis said…
Yeah I can see from picture that both of ladies were great performers. I really wish I could have heard their voices too. Well I am going to see performances of famous dancers and singers at event space NYC. I am sure it will be a fun event.

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