The production of "White Christmas" at the Buell Theatre faithfully recreates the charming 1954 film starring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. However, at a running time of more than two and a half hours with a 15-minute intermission, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts production could have iced some subplots for a brisker pace, especially for a musical marketed toward families.
"White Christmas" follows the postwar fortunes of two singing soldiers, Bob Wallace (Tom Galantich) and Phil Davis (Nicolas Dromard), as they court two singing sisters, Betty Haynes (Amy Bodnar) and Judy Haynes (Kate Marilley.) Abandoning a plan for a sunny vacation in Miami, Wallace and Davis follow the Haynes sisters to a Vermont inn for the holidays. The production is peppered with familiar favorites by songwriter Irving Berlin such as "Blue Skies" and, of course, "White Christmas."
At the Vermont inn, the proprietor is anxiously awaiting snow to keep the doors open for another season. In a remarkable coincidence, the owner of the inn happens to be the former general who kept Bob and Phil in line in the military. The singing duo hatch a plot to save the inn, but a series of misunderstandings interferes with a blossoming romance between Judy and Bob.
The set design by Anna Louizos allows for an innovative use of "split screens" on stage, and a strong performance by Kate Marilley as the cynical Judy anchors "White Christmas." The energetic choreography is another highlight of the musical, especially the cheery "Blue Skies." Eliminating some numbers such as "Let Me Sing and I'm Happy" that are not essential to the plot could have kept the brisk energy throughout the show.
"White Christmas" is showing through Dec. 24 at the Buell Theatre. Tickets range from $30 to $90 for matinee and evening performances. To purchase tickets, visit the DCPA website.