Harriet Hunter Ford
“Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” is “must-see” theater at The Arvada Center.
Directed by Gavin Mayer, the musical plays through Dec. 2 in the Main Stage Theatre. Several extra performances have been added to accommodate expected crowds. Based on the full house on the evening my daughter, son-in-law and I saw it, that was a very wise choice. And it wasn’t even opening night.
The show opens with an Army Christmas talent show. Capt. Bob Wallace (Ben Michael) and Corp. Phil Davis (Cody Williams) are entertaining the troops with their song-and-dance act. Gen. Henry Waverly (Paul Page) ends the evening with a heartfelt message.
Fast forward 10 years to a Broadway stage where the two former soldiers are performing. Phil is a bit of a womanizer and is constantly trying to fix up his cynical and shy partner, Bob. Having received a letter from a military buddy asking the two to check out his two sisters’ singing act, Phil drags the reluctant Bob to see their performance. The two men are leaving for a gig in Florida later that night.
Phil immediately falls for the beautiful Judy Haynes (Erica Sweany) who is equally smitten with him. While the two hopeless romantics dance, Bob and Betty (Lauren Shealy) are left to their own devices at the table. Betty tries, with no success, to have a conversation with the recalcitrant Bob. The sisters are taking a train to a gig in Vermont right after the show. Fast forward again, and we find all four performers at the Vermont inn where they are greeted at the desk by Martha Watson (Sharon Kay White). They soon learn that the inn is owned by retired Gen. Waverly, who is about to lose the inn because of lack of business.
In true musical theater tradition, the four singers decide to put on a show and invite all their old Army buddies and their families to come to the show and save the inn for the general whom they all love. Of course, after overcoming many challenges, it works beautifully, the two couples fall in love, etc.
It’s a wonderful production, as I’ve come to expect at the Arvada Center. The strong and talented cast performs without a hitch. Tunes include “Blue Skies,” “Sisters,” “Happy Holidays” and “White Christmas.” Little Susan Waverly, the general’s granddaughter (Darcey Keating/Darrow Klein), steals the show with her reprise of Martha’s (also show-stopping) “Let Me Sing And I’m Happy.” And Page is stellar in his performance as General Waverly.
Ticket prices start at $53. Fifty percent-off tickets are available for children under 12, only by calling the box office at 720-898-7200. For all other tickets, call the box office or visit www.arvadacenter.org.