I was thrilled to be invited to the opening night of the Shaw Festival’s Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Part of their tradition of holiday productions, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is the perfect feel-good musical to put you into the holiday spirit! With singing and dancing that bring down the house and a story that’ll warm your heart on even the coldest night, White Christmas is a joy for the whole family.

            Based on the 1954 film of the same name, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas chronicles the lives of two former WWII soldiers who go on to become a hit singing and dancing duo once they’re home. Teaming up with a little-known sister act, they end up at the Columbia Inn in Vermont which happens to be owned by their previous General. Of course, as they attempt to save the failing Inn, various hijinks ensue, but ultimately the Columbia Inn in saved, everyone is in love, and there’s snow for Christmas day. These kinds of stories remind us about the true meaning of the season: love, kindness, and helping out those in need.

            Irving Berlin’s White Christmas was an absolute spectacle, from the set and costumes to the choreography and singing, it’s a total feast for the senses. Having “Blue Skies” and “I Love a Piano” sandwiched around intermission is perfect: you go from one wow-moment to the next. “Blue Skies” is mesmerizing with the whole ensemble dressed exactly alike, with the set lit as a perfect compliment to their costumes, and dancing this fluid, gorgeous choreography. There’s a moment in “I Love a Piano” where there are twelve dancers, all in a row, all with tap shoes on, dancing in unison; the sound is so enveloping it gave me goosebumps! The whole production has that level of wow-factor as the immense talent both on and off-stage shines.

            This phenomenal productionfeatures a brilliant ensemble cast full of Shaw Festival favourites. Jeff Irving and Kevin McLachlan play Wallace and Davis, the former soldiers turned entertainers. Both of them exuded that old-school charm befitting of the 1950’s setting. Alexis Gordon and Mary Antonini give dazzling performances as the Haynes sisters, singing and dancing their way straight into our hearts. I got to see Catherine Dubois in the role of Susan Waverly, and I can only imagine what an impressive career this young lady is going to have. Jenni Burke and David Allan Anderson play Martha Watson and General Henry Waverly who run the Columbia Inn; their dynamic was so funny and I loved how they played off of one another. You can feel the joy and excitement the entire cast brings to this production; it makes everything that much merrier and brighter.             Festive fun for the whole family, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is not to be missed! Running until December 23rd, there’s still plenty of time to give your holiday season the old razzle dazzle! For more information and tickets, visit: White Christmas – Shaw Festival Theatre


The cast of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (Shaw Festival, 2022). Photo by David Cooper.

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