WBT Presents A Very White Christmas With Blue Skies

Published: Monday, December 23, 2013 7:00 am By: Morey Storck Source: Hudson Independent

Wow! This Westchester Broadway Theatre production of White Christmas will certainly maintain the snowy memories and bright shine of Christmas’ past until the lawns, trees, and streets are covered with the certain coming of new white snow. In this WBT production, however, the wait is over. Wet snow actually does fall on the audience during the second act finale.

The storyline is slim, simple, but serviceable, and really meant as fill-material to connect some of the best and most beloved songs of the great Irving Berlin. Two recently discharged Army vets, who are also song-and-dance buddies, follow two song-and-dance sisters to a Vermont lodge for Christmas. The lodge just happens to be owned by the vets’ former Army commander, and it is not doing too well. Okay, everyone knows what happens next. “Hey, let’s put on a show……in the old barn!” (which just happens to have a stage)
From the start, Sean Montgomery and Jeremy Benton, playing the discharged vets, establish the vitality and panache of the show with their showcasing of “Happy Holiday” and “Let Yourself Go.” Their energy, talent and audience-friendly stage presence is perfect for this fast-moving production. In later scenes, their talents are at their peak in “The Best Things Happen When You’re Dancing,” “Blue Skies,”“Snow,” and “White Christmas.” Lindsie Vanwinkle and Kelly Sheehan also shine brilliantly, each in featured duets: Vanwinkle in “Count Your Blessings” and “Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me,” and Sheehan in “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing” - and, particularly when they are singing together, in the very smart and popular “Sisters.”
“Let Me Sing And I’m Happy” shakes the rafters by the show-stopping Karen Murphy. The number perfectly fits her strong, belting voice, while her timing in comedy relief is perfect. Of course, the casting would not be complete without a sweet, but precocious little girl: Nicole Kolitsas sings a reprise of “Let Me Sing and I’m Happy” in the second act.
But, without the marvelous, tap dancing chorus, this show would be just another pleasant also-ran. This talented group of 12 hard-working, well-rehearsed tap dancers is a key component of the show. Matthew Gilgore is the Assistant Choreographer and Dance Captain/Swing. As he explains it, “My job is to keep the dances clean. In other words, I keep the dances fresh and as they were originally choreographed without unintended embellishments. One other fact worth noting,” he continued, “is that each dancer in the ensemble is given his or her individual piece of the spotlight.” Their impact shows up in production numbers such as “Snow” and “Blue Skies” in Act I, and later in “I Love A Piano” and “We’ll Follow The Old Man” in Act II. Plus, of course, “White Christmas.” 
White Christmas is directed and choreographed by Randy Skinner. He previously directed the WBT production of 42nd Street. Musical direction is by Andrew Smithson.