We have now completed our second weekend of WHITE CHRISTMAS.
I was thinking about this experience over the weekend, and thought I would pass it on.
As a director going into the process, I knew that I liked the show and everything that it stood for. The audition process brought out some wonderful talent, and felt that we had a very good cast. As we got into it, I realized that I had a fabulous cast who were an absolute joy to work with. Shaun Baker, playing Bob Watson, the Bing Crosby character in the 1954 film, decided to come back to theatre after a very long hiatus. Lucky for me and the theatre! Charming, sings great, and a consummate professional. James Reed is playing Phil Davis, the Danny Kaye character, and is charming, with matinee idol good looks, and a fabulous dancer. James is also known to us as a director (HAIRSPRAY and JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT), and performer (THE FULL MONTY, THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE), but this is his first time in a leading role, and he is a joy. Lydia Merriam-Pigg, playing the Rosemary Clooney role, has been in SWEENEY TODD in the ensemble, and recently played Frenchy in GREASE. When she auditioned for me for WHITE CHRISTMAS, she knocked my socks off. This is her first time out as a real leading lady, and she is perfection.i Tffany Davis, playing the Vera Ellen role,has graced our stage as Marti in GREASE, and Amber in HAIRSPRAY is a charming, statuesque blonde, and a great dancing partner for James Reed.
The rest of the supporting cast is full of new faces and some familiar ones. Stephen Orr, Peggy Coleman, James Snyder, Chris Martin, Melissa Esau, Terra Fearrand, and a nine-year old bundle of joy, Rachel Corey.
Now onto Evelyn Barney, the wonderful choreographer of the show. We worked together for the first time on 42ND STREET. She is a great collaborator, and has that wonderful quality that makes everyone want to do their best. She is in her element in this show. Dance-wise this show has many dance styles; tap, jazz, and ballroom. She is tireless, and one of my favorite people.
As we put the show together, I realized that every day I liked it more and more, and now I really love it! In my opinion, there is no better show for the holiday season than WHITE CHRISTMAS. I believe that with the added music and expansion of the story it is vastly better than the film. And watching audiences get into it and enjoy the nostalgia of it, brings a tear to the eye. Cathy Hastings and Kathie Dixon have done beautiful work on the costumes, and the set by Kenichi Takahashi, is really beautiful.
If you haven’t seen it, you have two more weeks, and the tickets are going fast.
My thanks and love to everyone who helped to make the show what it is. Every person, being cast or crew, is invaluable to making any show happen, and they do themselves proud with this one.
“May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be bright”…Irving Berlin