By Janelle Rominski
The snow is falling, the bells are ringing, holiday cheer is in the air and the cast members are singing. Drury Lane Theatre is currently showcasing Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, the Musical until January 3, 2016 and it is a must see!
White Christmas tells the story of two former Army buddies turned Broadway stars who follow sisters, who are set to perform at a charming Vermont inn. In an effort to save the inn, the duos team up to put on a festive show packed with Irving Berlin favorites like “Blue Skies,” “Count Your Blessings,” “I Love a Piano,” “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” and “White Christmas."
I am a musical theatre enthusiast and have seen this production numerous times at other venues and this one was by far the best. The chemistry and talent of the cast are off the charts, and the choreography was stellar.
As a college theatre minor and Thespian, I was paying attention to the technical aspects of the musical as well. The blocking (staging of actors in order to facilitate the performance of a play) was thoughtfully planned, the transition from scene to scene seemed effortless, lighting was exemplary, the musical accompaniment is spot on, the set design is beautifully crafted and the costumes and wigs were gorgeous.
The cast is star studded with familiar faces to the Chicago land theatre scene, including some actors who have graced the Broadway and Off-Broadway stages. Notable main performers include Sean Allan Krill (Bob Wallace), Gina Milo (Betty Haynes), Matt Raftery (Phil Davis) and Erica Stephan (Judy Haynes). Drury Lane Theatre’s Director and Artistic Director William Osetek steers this production.
“The holidays are a special time here at Drury Lane, and this year will be no exception with our production of White Christmas, featuring Irving Berlin’s classic songs that audiences know and love, combined with spirited choreography by Matthew Crowle,” said Osetek. “Together with this talented cast and creative team, we hope to transport our Drury Lane Theatre audiences with this timeless holiday tale…” and that they do.
Upon entering the theatre, the proscenium stage is framed with red velvet curtains and I sit in my seat in anticipation for the musical. The lights dim, the curtains rise and you begin with a scene at an Army Camp in Europe on Christmas Eve in 1944 with “Happy Holidays” and “White Christmas” tunes being sung by Bob and Phil, the main men in the musical. Throughout the production, you are taken on a journey to the Ed Sullivan Show, A Train Car, The Front Desk at the Columbia Inn in Vermont, The Barn Theatre, The Regency Room in New York throughout their two and a half hour show.
All aspects combined take you on a beautiful emotional ride and the actors pull you in to feel the love, joy, anger and fear of the story line.