Based off the classic 1954 film, this production of White Christmas at Theatre at the Center was a heartwarming and feel-good musical that will be sure to get you in the Christmas spirit. From war buddies, to singing partners, to famous names in show business, Bob and Phil go through it all together - including finding romance.
Although Phil Davis, played by Justin Brill, has always been a ladies’ man and is not shy when it comes to smooth talking his way into a dance, his pal Bob Wallace played by Matt Edmonds, is not so lucky when it comes to love. While on tour for their new show, Phil decides it would be a good idea to stop into a local nightclub to hear a sister act performing before they head out to Miami the next morning. Little did Bob know this invite was just a setup to get him with Miss Betty Haynes, played by Erica Stephan. The awkward, stiff, and nowhere near natural date that unfolds, only brought out the worst in each other and led to disgust rather than a spark between the two. My favorite part of this scene, however, was the miraculous dance between Phil and Judy.
Betty’s sister, Judy Haynes played by Casiena Raether, teams up with Phil to ensure the couple gets together by tricking Bob into ending up in Vermont with the sisters for their upcoming Christmas show instead of sunny Miami. When the foursome ends up at a small inn in not-so-snowy Vermont, they soon learn that the inn is owned by Bob and Phil’s Army General, Henry Waverly played by Neil Friedman. General Waverly happens to be a very poor innkeeper and is struggling to keep the inn afloat. The pair decide to help him out by packing the inn with guests for the Christmas show by performing with the Haynes sisters!
Throughout the planning and execution of the show, Betty and Bob fall in and out of love from a very misleading game of telephone, no thanks to Martha Watson, the receptionist and practically co-innkeeper played by Glory Kissel. The back and forth between the budding romance keeps you on the edge of your seat with how they will end up. I will let you figure that out for yourself though. One of my favorite songs they sing together is “How Deep is the Ocean.”
The misleading game of telephone all stemmed from Bob and Phil’s secret plan to get their platoon in the audience Christmas Eve. Sadly, this game plan came across to Martha as Bob taking over the inn with help from a realtor, Sheldrake, who is actually a navy buddy and producer for the Ed Sullivan Show. Little does she know Bob, Phil, and Sheldrake just want to help pack the stands for the big Christmas show.
In the beginning of the Christmas Eve performance, they bring General Waverly out to see all his men together in the audience which was so sweet to watch. It is also a big character change for the General. The group also finds Phil and Betty engaged! These are all such sweet scenes, however, the best part of this heart-warming ending for me was when Bob introduces the iconic song “White Christmas,” inviting the audience to sing along with him. It was so great hearing everyone in the audience chiming in to this classic tune before the cast comes out in their beautiful Christmas ensembles to close out the show.
This show will be on stage until December 22, 2019 with performances happening multiple days of the week. Please see more information and get your tickets at www.theatreatthecenter.com/on-stage/white-christmas.