REVIEW: I’m Dreaming of WHITE CHRISTMAS

By Sherri Ogden Wellington

I’m dreaming of a White Christmas. This beloved 1954 musical comes to life at Covedale.  Almost everyone  knows the story, at least if you are of a certain age…Bob and Phil (veterans of WWII) have a successful song & dance partnership.  They meet two sisters who also are performers.  Bob and Phil follow the sisters to the Columbia Inn,  Vermont which happens to be owned by their former Army commander.  They save the Inn for their former leader, fall in love with their respective sister and supposedly live happily ever after.  The music and lyrics are written by the great Irving Berlin and is based on a book by David Ives and Paul Blake. The screenplay was written by Norman Krasna (Paramount Pictures). 

It’s a Classic

This play doesn’t follow the movies’ plot line verbatim but carries the same messages.  The feelings one gets when hearing songs that you have forgotten where you know them from are incredible.  “Blue Skies,” “Sisters” and “Count Your Blessings” are certainly  classics.

The dancing (Choreographer/Swing, Cassidy Steele) is spectacular.  The tap dancing scenes with the lead actors and chorus is incredible.  One feels the vibrations from the tapping.  It is an awesome experience.  Talking about dancing…Phil (Christopher Wells) and Judy (Haley Moore Haskin) are amazing to watch. Seriously, you HAVE to come see this play to see how well they dance together.  It is magic!

Singing is another great thing.  Martha (Kelsey Chandler) who essentially runs the inn, belts out songs like is it her business and I suppose it is.  Bob (Jeremiah Plessinger) also has a fantastic voice but Betty’s  (Jenny Herndon) is simply beautiful.  How can you miss this opportunity to hear them?

Okay, so this author’s favorite silly antic actors are, drum roll please, Rita (Katie McCarthy) and Rhoda (Kelsey Schwarber) .  They are chorus girls who flirt with Phil and have you rolling in laughter.  Thank you for making me laugh and laugh and laugh.

Cast of White Christmas at Covedale.
Cast of White Christmas at Covedale.

Creative Team

This production has to be  a challenge for any costume designer since there are so many scenes and costume changes but June Hill and Jesselee Whitson pull it off beautifully.  Favorite costumes have to include the blue and white costumes for the “Blue Sky” performance, the various outfits of Rita (Katie McCarthy) and Rhoda  (Kelsey Schwarber) and the “Happy Holidays” scene with the ensemble in red with silver trim.  The cigarette girls’ costumes and most of Betty’s outfits are incredible.  Amazing!

Again there are a plethora of scenes!  What does a scenic designer (Brett Bowling) and lead scenic designer (Jeff Centrello) do?  Well they work their butts off and make as many creative scenery and props (thanks to Alexandria Cumbow) as possible.  A favorite has to be the simplest…the two bales of hay that constantly show up in the barn much to the chagrin of the producer of the production at Pine Hills (Jerrod Gruber).  

Cast of White Christmas at Covedale.
Cast of White Christmas at Covedale.

Not to undermine the importance of lighting (Denny Reed) and sound (Jamie Steele and Ben Bushman), it must be noted that the spotlights and other lighting as well as  the  music were perfect for the time (1950’s) the play takes place.  One feels like one is transported to that time period. The ending is spectacular with everyone on stage singing, the audience participating, lighting as well as special effects crescendoing into a holiday experience one has to experience!

No production could be this good without great leadership.  Tim Perrino who is the director and founder, along with Greg Dastillung (Music Director), Angelica Ortiz (Production Stage Manager) and many more made this a memorable performance.  The acting is brilliant.  It obviously is a well orchestrated performance and kudos to all who are a part of it.  

Tickets

White Christmas plays from Nov. 30 – Dec. 23, 2023.  Performance times:  Thursday 7:30 pm; Friday 8:00 pm; Saturday 8:00 pm & Sunday 2:00 pm.

To purchase tickets and/or get more information CLICK HERE.