BWW Review: WHITE CHRISTMAS at Broadway Sacramento
Don't pack away your favorite Christmas sweater quite yet. You have one more opportunity to celebrate Christmas in full color: The national tour of White Christmas the musical visits Sacramento through this Sunday only.
The original 1954 film version of White Christmas starred Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye and became an iconic classic. Its Broadway adaptation has toured yearly for more than ten years, and several of that production's cast members return regularly to wish audiences a happy holiday. Kelly Sheehan performed in the musical in New York and has been with the tour as the character of Judy Haynes for eleven years. Lorna Luft - best known as the daughter of Judy Garland - performed the role of Martha Watson in the UK premiere, at Papermill Playhouse and now in the national tour (and she sounds just like her mother when she sings).
But the talent goes across the board here. Sheehan's Judy Haynes plays well off an equally carefree and flighty Jeremy Benton as Phil Davis, especially on the dance floor (Think "I Love A Piano" and "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing"). Her sisterly counterpart, Kerry Conte as Betty Haynes, possesses a classic voice and pairs with Sean Montgomery's Bob Wallace, who croons out favorite Irving Berlin tunes including "Count Your Blessings" and the title song. Showbiz partners Wallace and Davis follow the girls to an inn in Vermont, where, due to a lack of snow, the only way to save the day and pay the bills is to put on a show. As a bonus, the inn happens to be owned by the duo's former Army general (Conrad John Schuck).
It's a quick-paced production that never quite finds its heart, but you can't deny the feel-good nostalgia associated with White Christmas, nor help but love all its impressive dance numbers. And when those barn doors finally open to reveal a gorgeous snowy landscape, the day undoubtedly becomes merry and bright.