Broadway in Chicago’s “Big Christmas” show is a musical based on the Movie “White Christmas” written by Norman Krasna,Norman Panama and Melvin Frank with the wonderful music and lyrics of one of America’s best, Irving Berlin. This book/adaptation is written by David Ives and Paul Blake. The story is about two army buddies who become successful song and dance men in the 50’s. Bob (deftly handled by John Scherer) and Phil ( Denis Lambert who is a top-notch tap dancer) are headed to work on a new show in Florida when they meet two sisters of one of their old army buddies, Betty ( the dynamic Amy Bodnar) and Judy ( the adorable Shannon M. O’Bryan) Haynes. The sisters are headed up to Vermont for a gig and the boys , thanks to Phil end up taking the same train and changing their plans. Seems Phil, who has always been the ladies man, feels it is time for Bob to enter the real world and find romance.
When they get to the resort in Vermont, it turns out that it is warm and there is no snow, thus the guests who are there to ski and sled check out, leaving the owner in deep trouble. It also turns out that the owner is in fact their old General ( nicely played by Erik Devine) who longs to return to the only life he has enjoyed, the military, but with no success! The two women in his life, his granddaughter Susan ( the adorable Mary Peeples, who packs one big voice from a little frame) and his manager, Martha( Ruth Williamson, another powerhouse of a voice with a great sense of comedy) want the General to be happy with his new life, but also are willing to make whatever sacrifice they must to make sure he is happy.
It turns out that the General is behind in many of his bills and now with the nice weather, it could get worse. Bob and Phil work out a secret plan to get all their old army buddies to bring their families up to the Inn for Christmas so they can help the General get back on track. Meanwhile, Betty, who has fallen for Bob ( and he likewise for her) misunderstands the secret and thinks Bob is trying to take over the Inn for profit. As most holiday musicals do, this one also ends with a happy ending- both boys get their girls, the General keeps his Inn and his Martha and the entire ensemble dons ugly holiday sweaters to do the big finale. This is a “hokey”, Sappy story, but let’s face it, so are many of the holiday shows. What this one gives us is some great music to enjoy; “Sisters”, “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm”,”Count Your Blessing,nstead of Sheep”, “How Deep Is The Ocean”, The Act Two opener, ” I Love A Piano” with a dynamite tap dancing production number and of course “White Christmas”! How can you go wrong with a score like that?
The set is okay, nothing special ,and the costumes are perhaps a little less glitzy than one expects from a Broadway in Chicago show, but the voices are solid, the dancing a delight to watch and just being able to spend a few hours away from the news of the day and delight in a romantic feel good story that has classic musical numbers should make your heart feel good. It even snows IN the theater during the finale/curtain calls. White Christmas will continue at The Bank Of America Theatre located at 18 West Monroe through January 2nd ( makes it through the holiday season perfectly). For days and hours visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com
Tickets range from $25-$98 nd can be purchased at any of the Broadway in Chicago box offices,, at the Broadway in Chicago Kiosk at Water Tower Place, by phone at The Broadway in Chicago Ticketline, 800-775-2000, at all Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com