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Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" at the Marquis Theatre
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Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" at the Marquis Theatre

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Irving Berlin’s
White Christmas

Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin
Book by David Ives and Paul Blake
Based on the 1954 Paramount Pictures Film
Screenwriters: Norman Krasna, Norman Panama, Melvin Frank

Directed by Walter Bobbie
At the
Marquis Theatre
1535 Broadway

Starring: Stephen Bogardus, Kerry O’Malley,
Jeffry Denman, Meredith Patterson
Charles Dean, Susan Mansur, Peter Reardon,
Cliff Bemis, Sheffield Chastain, Melody Hollis
Plus an Ensemble of 23 Actors/Singers/Dancers

Choreographed by Randy Skinner
Music Supervisor: Rob Berman

Scenic Design: Anna Louizos
Lighting Design: Ken Billington
Costume Design: Carrie Robbins
Sound Design: Acme Sound Partners
Orchestrations: Larry Blank
Vocal and Dance Arrangements: Bruce Pomahac
Music Coordinator: Seymour Red Press
Conductor: Rob Berman
Technical Supervisor: Brian Lynch
Production Stage Manager: Michael J. Passaro
Assoc. Choreographer: Kelli Barclay
Casting: Jay Binder, Nikole Vallins
Associate Producers: Richard A. Smith,
Douglas L. Meyer/James D. Stern
Marketing: Scott A. Moore
Assoc. Director: Marc Bruni
General Management: John S. Corker, Barbara Crompton
Producers: Kevin McCollum, John Gore, Tom McGrath,
Paul Blake, The Producing Office, Dan Markley,
Sonny Everett, Broadway Across America
Press: Boneau/Bryan-Brown

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 2, 2008

If you like an ensemble in bright, red plaid shirts and scarves, singing in Holiday spirit, aboard the train to an Inn in Vermont, and you remember Bing Crosby in the 1954 film, then Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at the Marquis is for you. The show’s songs are drawn from the film, plus lots of additional Berlin tunes. Some of the best are “Let Yourself Go”, “Blue Skies”, “I Love a Piano”, “Love You Didn’t Do Right By Me/How Deep Is the Ocean?”, “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm”, and, of course, the title song, “White Christmas”. But, there’s no Bing Crosby, with his cognac-smooth vocals and seductive eyes, and there’s no Danny Kaye, with his iconic gestures and innate comedic talent. Instead we get Stephen Bogardus as Bob Wallace, in Crosby’s role, and Jeffry Denman as Phil Davis, in Kaye’s role, with two Barbie Doll-type gals, Kerry O’Malley and Meredith Patterson, to fill the romantic book and song lyrics of Broadway’s seasonal stroll down Memory Lane.

The story starts with a World War II Army Christmas show in 1944, and Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, both in the Army, are performing in the show. The ever-too-serious General, Henry Waverly (Charles Dean) shows up and puts the guys into marching readiness. After the War, Bob and Phil join up for Broadway big time, with Phil running after the women and Bob running from them. The guys meet two sisters, to make two duos, and Phil and Judy (the blonde Ms. Patterson) are the stars of a love-at-first-sight gag. Bob and Betty (the red-headed Ms. O’Malley) have thick chemistry that takes the form of “bickering” before it becomes “blissful”. There are some shenanigans involved to get the four to the gig at the Inn, and, lo and behold, the former Army general is now Innkeeper, and about to lose the Inn, with no snow and no guests. What does he need for publicity? A Broadway-styled show!

Of course, there’s a romantic riff between Bob and Betty, and Bob travels back to New York to woo Betty in her gig at a Club, thus her “Love You Didn’t Do Right By Me” and his “How Deep Is the Ocean?” This was my favorite moment, as Ms. O’Malley’s voice lit like a flame, against Mr. Bogardus’ impassioned performance. Back at the Inn, two characters create outstanding comedy, Susan Mansur, as Martha Watson, the Inn’s “Office Manager”, and Melody Hollis, General Waverly’s campy, adorable grand-daughter, who jus wants a big Broadway break. And, you can guess what happens to the third duo, the General and Ms. Watson, who’s been waiting in the wings for her own romantic break. She plays her cards as best she can, with vaudevillian verve. Mr. Dean, as the General with a hidden heart, comes through for the White Christmas that appears on cue.

Speaking of snow, Anna Louizos’ sets are superb, especially in the big number, “I Love a Piano” (with bravura song and dance from Mr. Denman and Ms. Patterson), the train scene, the theatre at the Barn, and the snowy finale. Carrie Robbins’ costumes are charming and retro. True stars of this remake of the film are writers David Ives and Paul Blake, Director Walter Bobbie, who keeps the timing swift, with large, shifting sets and engaging repartee, and Choreographer, Randy Skinner, who sets up some razzle-dazzle dance. Rob Berman conducts with fast tempos and tap infused rhythms, with thanks to Larry Blank’s dashing orchestrations. Bruce Pomahac created vocal and dance arrangements with extra animation. For New York at Christmas, this show fit the bill.

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at