Contributing Critic - Dallas/Ft. Worth
The historic Plaza Theatre in Garland, Texas served as the picture-perfect venue for Company of Rowlett Performers’ (CORP) engaging presentation of the nostalgic holiday classic, “White Christmas”.
Based on the book written by David Ives and Paul Blake, and set to Irving Berlin’s dazzling score, “White Christmas” captures the infectious optimism of the holidays in post-World World II America. The uplifting story centers on war veteran and successful song and dance duo, Wallace and Davis, as they connect with a talented sister act and travel to a rustic Vermont ski lodge to celebrate the season. The lodge, owned by their former Army commander, General Waverly, serves as an intimate backdrop for an unfolding song and dance extravaganza to honor the general and possibly help save his inn from bankruptcy.
CORP’s production expertly wove together the rich fibers of this story which has made it a time-honored part of the American holiday tradition. Stars Steve Golin as “Bob Wallace” paired with his talented real-life fiance, Whitney Rosenalm as “Betty Haynes”, delivered remarkably-authentic and endearing performances. Capitalizing on their real-world connection, they aptly captured the emotional journey and spirit of these characters in a remarkable way.
Steve Golin’s multi-faceted performance of “Bob Wallace” hit a home run with the audience as he expertly channeled the vocal stylings and mannerisms of Bing Crosby’s delivery of the same role. Alongside “Bob” and “Betty”, co-stars Ryan Rameriz as “Phil Davis” and Hannah Smith in the role of “Judy Haynes”, rounded out the performance with comedic interludes and powerful dance numbers.
Together, Whitney Rosenalm and Hannah Smith’s Sisters act was a true highlight of the show. Smooth synchronicity and smart costuming matched their talented vocals and dance stylings to captivate the audience. Backed by a talented ensemble, this production brought the high-energy dance and tap numbers to life with zeal and enthusiasm. Beloved classics including Happy Holidays, The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing, Sisters, and, of course, the tender White Christmas, were all performed with a true passion celebrating this Christmas classic which sits in a reserved seat in the halls of American holiday nostalgia.
Although dialogue stalled on occasion and a few scene transitions lingered, all told, CORP delivered a powerfully-endearing, entertaining and highly-energetic performance of this time-honored story. Even though we’re unlikely to experience our own white Christmas here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area this season, CORP’s “White Christmas” may be enough to keep our spirits bright well into the new year.
“White Christmas” presented by CORP is directed by Donna Covington and features Steve Golin and Whitney Rosenalm as “Bob Wallace” and “Betty Haynes” along with Ryan Rameriz and Hannah Smith as “Phil Davis” and “Judy Haynes”. The cast also includes Rob Kolb as General Henry Waverly, Kelly Schaaf as Martha Watson, Hailey Hutcheson as Susan Waverly, Tom Jeffcoat as Ralph Sheldrake, Nancy Pistilli as Rita, Darla Meek as Rhoda, Thomas Grail as Ezekiel, and Declan Brennen as Mike. “White Christmas” also features the musical direction of Angel Caruth and choreography by Jill Lightfoot.
Be sure to pencil in some time during your busy holiday season to bring friends and family along to a performance of “White Christmas” which runs through the 22nd of December at the Plaza Theatre, in Downtown Garland, Texas (521 W. State St.). Learn more about the CORP Theatre at www.corptheatre.org and reserve your seat by visiting www.garlsartsboxoffice.com or by calling the box office at (972) 977-7710.
Photo credit: Lily Stalter