Art mirrored life on Saturday night at the Ordway. As it snowed outside, there was a White Christmas onstage. The Irving Berlin musical is based on the 1954 movie of the same name starring Bing Crosby. I had never seen the movie or the musical, so the story was a new one for me. It is about a pair of army buddies from World War 2 turned song and dance act who aim to cheer up their old Army General and revitalize his Vermont Inn that is lacking of snow by putting on a holiday revue with the help of a "sister act" they met in New York.
Although the story was new to me, many of Irving Berlin's songs were familiar. Songs such as "Happy Holidays", "Blue Skies" and of course "White Christmas." Although many of the songs were familiar I had never seen them performed in their full broadway musical potential, filled with harmonies, and some fantastic dance breaks. Some favorites of mine were, "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing" and "I Love a Piano." If you are a fan of tap dancing then this show is for you.
The cast of White Christmas. Photo by Rich Ryan Photography.
The reason I was so excited about this show in the first place was the cast, which did not disappoint. The cast is filled with many strong local actors/singers, and I was looking forward to seeing them all onstage together. Dieter Bierbrauer plays Bob Wallace, Ann Michels is Betty Haynes, Brian Sostek is Phil Davis and Thomasina Petrus is Martha Watson. New York based Jenny Piersol finishes out the group of principals as Judy Haynes, and fits in with the cast wonderfully.
I would be remiss not to mention the spectacular set by Anna Louizos. There are multiple stunning scenes; a Vermont Inn, a barn, dressing rooms, and a train car. Regardless of all the sets the show runs smoothly. While the action of the story is taking place in front of the curtain, the crew of the show are busy behind the curtain, entirely transforming the setting in a matter of minutes.
White Christmas really does seem like a musical and holiday show that has it all. Great costumes and sets. Songs backed up by a large orchestra and big dance numbers. If you want to escape the cold and the stress that comes with the holiday season come to downtown Saint Paul for a White Christmas.
Thank you to The Ordway for inviting me to this production.