Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? A Christmas that includes softly falling snow? Not much chance of that in Jacksonville, although we came close in 1989. Does anyone remember? If you’re dreaming of a theatrical White Christmas, then the musical stage version of the 1954 Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye movie is now at the Alhambra and will remain until December 24. However, even experiencing the fluffy stuff vicariously may remain a dream unless you already have reserved seats, as the show has been sold out since Halloween. You can ask to be put a waiting list; perhaps you’ll get lucky.
Why is this show so popular? We can offer a couple of reasons. First, White Christmas has not been done in this area since it debuted in 2004 as a stage musical. Second, it has been very popular everywhere it has played as the public seems to be high on nostalgia and the good old days. It’s set in 1954, and we would love to go back to that time. Bread was only 17 cents a loaf, and while milk was 92 cents a gallon, gasoline at 29 cents a gallon was a real bargain.
The plot is simple. Two entertainers work to boost the popularity of a Vermont resort during the holiday season to help out an old army buddy. Along the way there are romances, and lots of humor, singing, and dancing.
The Alhambra’s production is lavish and features a large cast of very talented singers and dancers. Director/Producer Tod Booth went to New York to cast the four leading characters, and all have impressive resumes, that include performances in musicals in New York and with national tours. David Raimo (Bob Wallace), Ken Alan (Phil Davis), Lindsay Luppino (Betty Haynes) and Erin Dowling (Judy Haynes) are attractive and engaging performers with wonderful voices. And they can dance up a storm.
Lisa Valdini, Alhambra veteran and one of our favorite performers, is Martha Watson, the Vermont ski lodge concierge who belts out the very lively “Let Me Sing and I’m Happy.” She does her best to support the brusque lodge owner, retired General Waverly (Mark Poppleton), as he faces impending bankruptcy.