White Christmas promotes holiday spirit
December 14, 2011
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It finally began to look a lot like Christmas inside as snowflakes drifted down from the ceilings in the auditorium at “White Christmas.”
As the first theater department’s holiday-themed show, “White Christmas” managed to upstage every other fantastic play that they have performed. Roles were perfectly cast, sets looked professionally designed, choreography was flawlessly performed, and lines were never flubbed. While one would expect no less from the theater department, the amount of dancing appeared to surpass that of those in previous shows.
The play circles around Bob Wallace, played by senior Nick Henninger, and Phil Davis, played by junior Thomas Gardner, two World War II veterans who have a song and dance show. Wallace and Davis meet the Haynes sisters, played by sophomore Lindsey McCumber and senior Stephanie Meadowcroft, and follow them to a Vermont inn where they find their old general, General Waverly played by senior Adam Kuester, in financial turmoil.
Henninger as Bob Wallace shone in “Love and the Weather” as he sang opposite McCumber, who played his love interest, Betty Haynes. Henninger’s voice was also revealed in “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” which was a heartfelt song sung to freshman Nicole Arrison, who played the General’s granddaughter Susan Waverly.
While most standing ovations happen at the end, Gardner as Phil Davis received one in the middle of the show after “I Love a Piano,” a number with fast-paced yet effortlessly performed tap choreography. Gardner and the accompanying tap dancers deserved the thunderous applause, as they were
perfectly in synch.
“Snow” and “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing” revealed Gardner’s remarkable singing voice. His dancing was also showcased in “Blue Skies,” an exceptionally choreographed jazz number that included the majority of the cast members, all clad in brilliant white attire with blue
However, both Henninger and Gardner’s true shining moment was when they sang “Sisters,” their own flamboyant take on the Haynes sisters’ duet. They fluttered their feather fans and shook their hips in their rolled-up khakis during this amusing reprise.
During the original version of “Sisters,” the two female sisters vocally complemented one another with their similar but nonetheless powerful voices. Meadowcroft flawlessly portrayed Judy Haynes, the other female lead and the mischievous sister whose singing and acting stood out in “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing” and “I Love a Piano.” Judy’s comically bold character matched Phil’s flirtatious attitude and balanced Betty’s reserved character.
McCumber’s acting and singing were remarkable for a sophomore as she seamlessly portrays the aloof, cautious sister who doesn’t chase men or stardom the way her sister does. “Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me,” her solo at the Regency Room in New York, exhibited her pure, powerful vocals.
Every role was cast well, from sophomore Amanda Reid’s amusing sarcasm as Martha Watson (not Martha Washington) to junior Alex Shroeder’s random yet entertaining “Aah yep” interjections, as Ezekiel Foster. Kuester fulfilled the moving role of a World War II general, especially with his two soliloquies on Christmas day in 1944 and 1954. Arrison also charmed the audience during her reprise of Martha Megaphone Watson’s “Let Me Sing and I’m Happy.”
The show began to come to a close after over two and a half entertaining hours, ending after a poignant military reunion and romantic happy endings. As Henninger began to sing one of the most beloved Christmas songs of all time, almost every voice in the packed auditorium quietly joined him in singing “White Christmas.” Thanks to the beautiful song, fake snow, and holiday cheer, it finally began to feel like Christmas.
Cara Reilly is the Copy Chief for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.