‘White Christmas’ overcomes creaky plot to spread cheer

Just like the ones we used to know.

“White Christmas” proves the kind of musical where everybody’s raring to go into their dance. The kind of musical where dancing inevitably leads to romancing — and, even more inevitably, to happily-ever-aftering.

And it’s all done in time to the kind of lilting, toe-tapping tunes nobody writes anymore.

Happily for all of us, Irving Berlin did, once upon a time.

Even more happily, the songs (and dances) powering the stage version of “White Christmas” (kicking off the holiday season at The Smith Center through Sunday) prove as beguiling as ever.

If only we could say the same about the script.

This “White Christmas” is the kind of holiday party where you revel in the fun and camaraderie — and try to overlook the desperate-to-please host who dispenses both sweet treats and decrepit jokes with relentless zest.

Those who have seen the 1954 movie know what’s coming, more and/or less: a merry mix of those two tried-and-true musical plots, boy-meets-girl and let’s-put-on-a-show.

“White Christmas” transports us back to the seemingly simpler Eisenhower years, where old Army buddies Bob Wallace (smooth-voiced Sean Montgomery, in the nice-guy Bing Crosby role) and Phil Davis (tap-happy Jeremy Benton, nimbly stepping into Danny Kaye’s shoes) have become a top song-and-dance team.

They’re planning to spend the holidays in Florida to work on their new show — that is, until they catch the Haynes “Sisters” in action.

Feisty Betty (smoky-voiced Kerry Conte) sings like a dream; bubbly Judy (Kelly Sheehan) dances like one. And before you can say (or sing) “Snow,” all four are off to Vermont — and a struggling inn operated by none other than the boys’ crusty World War II commander, Gen. Henry Waverly (Conrad John Schuck).

Naturally, the inn has a wisecracking concierge (brassy Lorna Luft) with a showbiz past. Gen. Waverly has a precocious granddaughter (twins Clancy and Samantha Penny alternate in the role) with a showbiz future.

And the inn’s rustic barn provides plenty of room for knockout musical numbers, some of which are imported from other Irving Berlin shows, from 1915’s “I Love a Piano” (which Luft’s mother, Judy Garland, performed with Fred Astaire in the 1948 movie “Easter Parade”) to 1942’s “White Christmas” (introduced in the Astaire-Crosby movie “Holiday Inn”).

Throughout, director-choreographer Randy Skinner keeps “White Christmas” gliding smoothly along, with Anna Louizos’ evocative sets, Carrie Robbins’ costumes and Ken Billington’s lighting augmenting the holiday glow.

And if the script (David Ives and Paul Blake adapted the movie’s screenplay) creaks — more than a bit — while “White Christmas” ambles and rambles down memory lane, never mind.

As one of Berlin’s loveliest “White Christmas” ballads reminds us, we should all count our blessings instead of sheep.

And in these chillingly contentious times, when blessings sometimes seem elusive, “White Christmas’ ” simple diversion provides welcome, heart-warming cheer.

Read more stories from Carol Cling at reviewjournal.com. Contact her at ccling@reviewjournal.com and follow @CarolSCling on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Glittering Lights dazzles Las Vegas
The Glittering Lights holiday display is shining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Mat Luschek/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Skybar at Waldorf Astoria lets you sip your way through Las Vegas history
Skybar At Waldorf Astoria Lets You Sip Your Way Through Las Vegas History (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stan Lee in Las Vegas for Madame Tussauds unveiling
Stan Lee Las Vegas speaks with the Review-Journal's Chris Lawrence about his love for his fans and shared universes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ultimate Belgium Waffle Sundae at Lavo
Lavo at the Palazzo serves a 16-scoop ice cream sundae that costs $800. (Rochelle Ricahrds, Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel lLas Vegas Review-Journal)
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"The Lion King" roars into Las Vegas
New music club 172 brings loud luxury to Las Vegas
New music venue at the Rio brings rock ’n’ roll and food together at intimate club. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fans fear for Zak Bagans’ safety in Las Vegas Halloween TV special
Fly Linq zip line time lapse
Fly Linq zip line timelapse
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu (Al Mancini Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like