This is an advance draft of my Director’s Note for the upcoming production of White Christmas I have been working on. Enjoy!
May I have your attention please?
This production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas carries a rating of NC-10. That’s “Nice and Christmas-y,” hopefully making you feel like a child of ten again. A word of caution: there is nothing new, edgy, or overly profound in White Christmas. It’s strictly boy meets girl, boy loses girl (Well, I’ll stop there so as to not spoil the ending). Along the way we are introduced to a whole host of colorful characters, pretty girls in pretty costumes, minor misunderstandings, and lots of Irving Berlin standards that have become staples of folksy Americana out of a bygone era. Now, if it sounds like I’m being disrespectful to this stalwart holiday classic, well think again. In the fifty-seven years since White Christmas appeared at the box office, its simplicity, grace, tunefulness, and gentle humor have charmed generations of audiences. Simultaneously, those same qualities have become increasingly scarce in our lives, replaced by complication, harshness of manner and musical style, and comedy that is all too often “in your face” and at someone’s expense. And dare I even mention the commercialization of Christmas or the struggle to share anything as a family anymore?
Well, White Christmas, the new stage musical, with its hit-parade approach to Berlin’s music and its family-friendly romanticized depiction of the 1950s, turns the clock back a moment on all of that, sweeping us into an era of post WW-II optimism, where anything was possible as long as you had love, a barn, lots of passion, and some crazy kids to follow your lead. It reminds us that we as Americans have always been dreamers and optimists, focused more on what should have been and what could be than what really is. White Christmas lets us tweak our past for a moment, wrapping it in a bit of tinsel, showmanship, and falling snow. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that at all. Maybe things weren’t perfect back then either. So what? Together if we wish hard enough, right now, today, I bet we can make these few shared moments as simple, as beautiful, and as magical as a white Christmas. And if that happens, who knows what else we can do…
And lest I forget the true magic makers at this theatre, I just want to take a moment to thank Dennis (choreography), Gaye and Nancy (costumes), Phil (lights), Robert (audio), Kylie (props), Dave, Matt and Curtis (set), Sharon and Ben (management), and all their respective staffs. And special consideration to the men who make it all happen, Patrick and Ron, for all their hard work and dedication not only on this production but for all the theatrical magic that occurs here year round.
Happy Holidays and enjoy the show!