I’ve always loved musicals. Grew up watching them and my mom made sure we saw plenty. I thoroughly enjoyed helping put them together in high school and college too on stage. I’ve helped with The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Grease, Merrily We Roll Along, Sheltered, Cinderella and Into the Woods on top of doing plays like The Glass Menagerie, Life: Love and Hate, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and other scenes.
It took me until my senior year in college and driving through a snow storm to get me to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels on Broadway. Since living in Charlotte I’ve been able to go to the opera Pagliacci and seen RENT, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera and now White Christmas.
I was able to go see White Christmas about a week and a half ago with my friend Gina who used to teach music at my school (she’s moved to another nearby district to be closer to her family). She brought her girls with her too. It was fantastic. I remember when I was in high school my family went up to an old movie theatre in Massachusetts to see White Christmas on a big screen. That was awesome. It’s my favorite Christmas movie and I’d have to say it’s probably even with Singin’ In the Rain when it comes to my favorite movie/musical ever. AMC can tell you why it’s so awesome.
Just like books that are translated onto film, stage musicals that are made into movie musicals can be quite different and you have to come to enjoy them for what they are in their own right. I was prepared for the stage musical to be somewhat different from what was in the movie version with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. I’ve loved that movie forever and I knew it couldn’t live up to how awesome both Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are. Of course the stage musical by Irving Berlin would be quite different. It was written and composed before the movie version was ever made. The interesting thing to me was the songs that were in the stage musical that were not in the movie and vice versa – the songs in the movie musical that weren’t in the stage version. I had so hoped to see a several of the songs from the movie performed on stage that were not – particularly “The Minstrel Number/Mandy” and “Choreography” (which is entirely hilarious with Danny Kaye). Neither were in the stage version and they would have been AWESOME to see live. They did full versions of “Blue Skies” and “Let Me Sing and I’m Happy” which I loved. Alas, certain songs by Irving Berlin fit in with the movie version and they had certain time constraints on both ends – putting the musical together and the movie version. It was also interesting to see who sang some of the songs in the stage musical that didn’t in the movie version as well as who had bigger parts in the stage musical as opposed to the movie version. The two biggest examples of that were the characters of Martha (Emma the housekeeper in the movie version) and Susan (the General’s granddaughter). They had much bigger parts in the stage musical. Martha was hilarious. The scary part was she sounded exactly like the woman who played her counterpart in the movie. I can picture Emma in the movie doing the exact same things she did and singing in the movie if they’d kept that part in there. Susan also sang and instead of Bob and Betty singing “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep” it was Bob singing it to Susan.
All in all, I really liked the stage version as it’s own separate entity apart from the movie because nothing could live up to the movie in my eyes. Definitely glad I saw it.
If you haven’t seen this movie, you’ve been deprived and need to remedy that situation right away. We watch it every year on Christmas eve. You’re missing out on awesomeness such as the following including the likes of Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen, Rosemary Clooney and Mr. Christmas himself – Bing Crosby…
The Minstrel Number/Mandy (so wish I could have seen this on stage)
Choreography – Clip (only Danny Kaye could pull off the singing, dancing and physical comedy in this song, wish it’d been in the stage version)
Sisters (complete with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in all their awesomeness)
The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing (Vera-Ellen is crazy good)
And with that I say… Merry Christmas!!