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BWW Review: IRVING BERLIN'S WHITE CHRISTMAS THE MUSICAL at Berkshire Theatre Group Helps to Make the Season Merry and Bright.

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BWW Review: IRVING BERLIN'S WHITE CHRISTMAS THE MUSICAL  at Berkshire Theatre Group Helps to Make the Season Merry and Bright.
Photo: Emma K. Rothenberg-Ware

Berkshire Theatre Group has transformed Pittsfield's Colonial theatre into a snow globe come to life and welcomes back director Gregg Edelman, music director Ross Patterson, and choreographer Gerry McIntyre to celebrate the season by staging Irving Berlin'S WHITE CHRISTMAS THE MUSICAL. A timeless tale of joy and goodwill about a song-and-dance team putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn and falling for a stunning sister act in the process. With music and lyrics by Irving Berlin and book by David Ives and Paul Blake, this show is full of dancing, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written. The dazzling score features, "Blue Skies," "I Love a Piano," "How Deep is the Ocean?", ''Sisters", and of course, the title song, "White Christmas." BTG gives everyone a delightful gift of nostalgia, simpler times, and the classic movie musical with this merry and bright holiday offering.

BWW Review: IRVING BERLIN'S WHITE CHRISTMAS THE MUSICAL  at Berkshire Theatre Group Helps to Make the Season Merry and Bright.
Michael Starr and Michael Wartella
Photo: Emma K. Rothenberg-Ware

There is much to enjoy in this stage adaptation of the 1954 American Musical film. This production features David Adkins as General Henry Waverly; Allison Briner Dardenne as Martha Watson; Alanna Saunders as Judy Haynes; Claire Saunders as Betty Haynes; Michael Starr as Phil Davis and Michael Wartella as Bob Wallace. While there are a few minor elements that feel somewhat dated, overall, the material holds up and the presentation offers a delightful 2-hour (plus 15-minute intermission) escape from current concerns.

BWW Review: IRVING BERLIN'S WHITE CHRISTMAS THE MUSICAL  at Berkshire Theatre Group Helps to Make the Season Merry and Bright.
Alanna Saunders and Claire Saunders
Photo: Emma K. Rothenberg-Ware

Stand-out moments include musical numbers "Sisters" performed by real life sisters Alanna and Claire Saunders; "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep" performed by Michael Wartella with Claire Saunders; and pretty much all the plentiful choreography. In the old school style of the movie musicals, this production has a wealth of impressive dancing that is both well designed by Gerry McIntyre and Bryan Thomas Hunt, and flawlessly executed by the attractive and skilled ensemble led by

Hunt as Dance Captain. Allison Briner Dardenne's performance as Martha is also noteworthy. She is clearly very comfortable in her character and while her performance is uniquely hers, it is somewhat (and delightfully) Mermanesque. Costumes are well designed by Elivia Bovenzi Blitz. They are appropriate, appear to be expertly tailored / constructed, and beautiful.

BWW Review: IRVING BERLIN'S WHITE CHRISTMAS THE MUSICAL  at Berkshire Theatre Group Helps to Make the Season Merry and Bright.
Allison Briner Dardenne
Photo: Emma K. Rothenberg-Ware

WHITE CHRISTMAS The Musical continues through December 23. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased online at https://www.berkshiretheatregroup.org/ or by calling (413) 997-4444. A 10% discount on tickets is being offered for all front-line workers. BTG's Pittsfield Campus is located at 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA


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