BWW Interviews: Debby Boone on WHITE CHRISTMAS
This marks the 60th anniversary of White Christmas. You have your own personal connection to the film through Rosemary Clooney. How did those two factors come together to result in this concert?
Yes Michael and I are connected to the movie White Christmas and each other through Rosemary Clooney. Rosemary was my mother-in-law. I married her son Gabriel Ferrer 35 years ago. I must confess that I had not paid a whole lot of attention to that movie until I was dating Gabri, but it became an annual tradition to watch it, and of course I have been familiar with the wonderful music that comes from the picture all my life. I had the joyous privilege of performing with Rosemary for several years in her Christmas concert tours called Rosemary Clooney's White Christmas Party, so doing a show like the one I will be doing with Michael makes her feel very close. Michael worked next door to Rosemary's house in Beverly Hills when he was working for Ira Gershwin, and he developed a very beautiful relationship with Rosemary during those years, and of course performed many times with her himself.
How did your own connections influence your interpretation of these classic songs?
I often say working with Rosemary was like a Master class for me. She was one of the greatest interpreters of a lyric I have ever heard. She never over sang anything, but the simplicity brought an elegance that penetrated your heart. Listening to her encouraged me to always sing with a strong point of view and a heart connection to the words.
Rosemary had to have some great behind the scenes stories from the film. Any of those you can share?
There is a special edition DVD of White Christmas where Rosemary tells a lot of the behind the scenes stories of White Christmas which are a little too long to share here, but I do know that she often talked about what a happy set it was. She loved being on set working on the movie and absolutely loved working with Bing. She always said Bing ran the show though. It always went his way, or not at all. I think we are all fine with his way!
First of all, Michael Feinstein is truly one of the kindest human beings on the planet. I have had the privilege of working with Michael many times and it is always fun, and I know that musically everything will be first class all the way. I think we have a very similar sensibility when it comes to music. He always has interesting anecdotes to share about any song we are singing. We also love to reminisce about Rosemary, like a brother and sister would about a beloved parent.
Both you and Michael are known for your takes on American standards, and White Christmas is definitely a standard. What songs can audiences expect at your concert?
You will certainly hear a lot of the Christmas favorites during our show, whether individually or in duets or medleys we do together. Michael and I have chosen to do some of our personal favorites. Two of my all time favorites that I have chosen to sing are Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas from Meet Me In St. Louis, and Christmas Time Is Here from Charlie Brown's Christmas.
Do you have any favorite songs, stories or lines from the film?
I personally have always loved "Love You Didn't Do Right By Me." Rosemary in that stunning Edith Head dress might have something to do with my strong affection for that song. I also love Count Your Blessings because it so beautifully states a simple practice of gratitude.
What is your Christmas greeting for San Francisco this season?
I am thrilled to get to spend an evening during the Holidays in one of my favorite cities. I have always been very warmly welcomed in San Francisco and Michael and I are hoping that we can bring some fun, joy, and beautiful music to Davies Symphony Hall.
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