Sunday, November 16, 2008

Irving Berlin's White Christmas Arrives on Broadway-Applause Theatre Service Has Amazing Seats

Lucky me! I was able to get a front center seat for a new show I have been waiting for years to see on Broadway, Irving Berlin's White Christmas. The show is playing at one of New York's most wonderful and intimate theaters, The Marriott Marquis Theater on west 45th Street in New York City.

White Christmas is based on one of my favorite films of all time with the same title, originally made in 1954. The movie had three great film and entertainment stars playing lead roles, Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney.

This musical stays true to the movie I have seen many times with the action taking place after World War II. Returning army pals Capt. Bob Wallace (played by Stephen Bogardus) and Private Phil Davis (played by Jeffry Denman) come back to the states and become "song and dance" partners. Phil (who was played by Danny Kaye in the movie) is a real ladies man always looking for action and Bob (played by Bing Crosby in the movie) doesn't share Phil's kind of "upbeat outlook on life". Still, deep down inside, both of these guys are simply "looking for love" really.

Mr. Bogardus (Bob) is a hard working actor on Broadway with additional credits in TV and film. He has played in the original company of White Christmas for a few years now. Mr. Denman (Phil) reprises his role originally created in San Francisco and has had several roles on TV to his acting credits.

The guys play opposite two extremely talented young ladies in White Christmas. Kerry O'Malley plays Betty Haynes and Meredith Patterson plays Judy Haynes who make up the "sisters" singing act who like Bob and Phil, are trying to make a name for themselves in show business. Ms. O'Malley has played Betty in White Christmas since 2005 in out of town venues and has several credits working in shows both On and Off Broadway. Ms. Patterson originated the role of Judy in San Francisco as well as performed the role in Boston and Los Angeles. She has appeared in many Broadway Shows including the role of Peggy Sawyer in the revival of 42nd Street (original cast) and has had extensive TV credits including roles on Boston Legal and Guiding Light.

As the story moves along, Phil has heard about this terrific "sisters act" that might be a good opening act for him and Bob. So the guys go to a nightclub to catch a song or two and before you know it, Phil "falls head over heels" for Betty, hoping that Bob will feel the same about Judy. Although Bob and Judy don't hit it off, Phil concocts a way to drag Bob along for the ride (literally) and they end up tagging along with the girls as they head off to play a gig at a Vermont Inn during the Christmas holidays. Unfortunately Vermont is having a heat wave at the time and there is none of the usual cold and snow filled conditions to fill up the Inn with paying customers. No customers mean no "sisters act" this Christmas.

As the guys and gals are about to leave the Inn and turn back towards home, Bob and Phil bump into their former army commanding officer, General Henry Waverly, who just happens to own this quaint Vermont Inn. Bob, Phil, Betty and Judy soon learn that the Inn has fallen on tough times (lots of unpaid bills to pay) and the General longs to return to active duty, something he has always done well at. Bob gets a great idea to have his friend, a big shot producer on The Ed Sullivan TV Show) help him get the word out on National TV and asks the men of the 151st Army Division, that the General lead into battle, to "surprise" the old man at a Christmas Show in his honor. Although General Waverly can't understand why rehearsals are taking place for an extravagant Broadway type show when there is "no business" at the Inn, one night he simply walks out onstage and as he is saluted by Bob, Phil and another army pal, General Waverly looks out onto the audience and sees hundreds of men who served under his command in World War II, their families and children.

Needless to say, the "old man" has reason to feel uplifted once again. He also realizes even though at his age he was accepted back to active duty, that the only place for him is at the Vermont Inn with his family and friends.

The performances of all the actors are played with great care as they bring back the old fashioned times as well as all the wonderfully warm "Christmastime" feelings. We get to witness a feel good "boy meets girls" story (with 2 couples this time around), the greatness of many classic Irving Berlin songs, beautiful staging, some of the most gorgeous costumes ever to be seen on a Broadway stage and dancing that never quits. Oh I almost forgot, the finale is Christmas personified, a must see!

It's true that I have had the great privilege to have seen nearly every show on Broadway so far this season. It's also true that I am often "easy to please" and often just want to be entertained at the theatre. Although I usually look for the positive in a show ("are any Broadway critic's listening"?), I can honestly say that if you want to see a "feel good" show this Christmas, then treat yourself and your family to see Irving Berlin's White Christmas on Broadway.

The show is a limited engagement and plays until January 4, 2009. If you would like to secure tickets to this show, kindly contact the good people at Applause Theatre Service in New York City. They can be reached at 212-307-7050 or toll free at 1-800-451-9930 seven days a week or you can have a look at Applause's award winning web site. They are known as some of the "real people you can trust" in the theatre ticket business.

Wishing you all a Happy Holiday Season

Rich Gladstone
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service Inc.
311 west 43rd Street, suite 601
New York, New York 10036

local phone 212-307-7050
toll free 1-800-451-9930
web site

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