White Christmas at Lakewood Theatre Company - Sampling from the Oregonian Review
Theater review: ' Evening glows with clever song, high-energy dance at Lakewood Theatre Company
Published: Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011, 1:19 PM
Pictured: Photo by Lake Oswego Photographers.
Inspired by the 1954 movie starring Bing Crosby, Irving Berlin's White Christmas the patriotic 2004 holiday musical about post-World War II show biz is as thinly plotted and schmaltzy as the film. But Berlin's warm and clever songs make the evening glow, and the Lakewood cast offers early Christmas cheer in the form of tap-dancing show-stoppers and high-energy chorus numbers crisply choreographed by Joel Walker (who also plays a principal role).
If you know "White Christmas" with the incomparable Rosemary Clooney as Crosby's love interest and Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen as the second couple, this show follows the same story. Two army buddies, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis (Thomas Lindsley and Joel Walker) who oddly enough, looks like a young Fred Astaire) team up when they're out of the service to form a famous entertainment act. They're all set to take the train to Florida for an engagement, but then they meet the Haynes sisters, another performing duo, and Phil decides they should follow them to tiny but picturesque Pinetree, Vermont. Unbeknownst to Bob, they hop a train going in the opposite direction, up to snow country as Christmas approaches.
Judy Haynes, played with high-energy sparkle by Mia Crivello, has captured Phil's heart – they dance so well together, which is mostly what matters here – so he can't let her go. It's a bit different with handsome Bob and glamorous Betty Haynes (the lovely Leah Yorkston), who naturally are destined for each other. They get off to a bad start, and even when they have one pleasant evening together, where they supposedly fall in love, it's hard to believe even afterward that love is in the air. The two still seem remote.
But, hey, we're here for the excitement of putting on a show in a Vermont barn. We're here for the songs, and they're wonderful, helped along by a fine off-stage band conducted by Stephen Alexander. "Blue Skies" is a cleverly choreographed number featuring the talented chorus; "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing" features Phil and Judy as they convincingly (though quickly) fall in love on the dance floor; and "How Deep is the Ocean," Berlin's best love song, sets the tone for romance. Of course, there's the signature tune, "White Christmas," which Lindsley performs with tenderness and simple panache.
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Ticket prices are $32/adults and $29/seniors. Other discounts are available for students and groups. Patrons can still purchase season tickets for a four-show package which provide discounted admission and preferred seating. For additional information and tickets, call the Lakewood Box Office at (503) 635-3901 or click here to order online.