Introduction to White Christmas by Irving Berlin
Irving Berlin's White Christmas: the Musical
Irving Berlin's White Christmas is a stage musical based on the 1954 classic film of the same name, which featured the timeless music of Irving Berlin. The musical, which premiered in St. Louis in the year 2000, closely follows the plot of the movie and incorporates some of Berlin's most iconic songs.
Irving Berlin (1888-1989) was a Jewish American composer and lyricist who won numerous awards in his lifetime, including Academy, Grammy, and Tony awards. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I. Irving Berlin wrote over 1500 songs, 20 original Broadway shows, and 15 original Hollywood films during his 60-year career. Some of his hits include "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Blue Skies," "Puttin' on the Ritz," "Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)," "There's No Business Like Show Business," and, of course, "White Christmas."
Here's a synopsis of the story:
The musical begins with a scene during World War II, where we meet Captain Bob Wallace and Private Phil Davis, two soldiers serving in the U.S. Army. They become famous for their entertaining performances to boost the morale of their fellow soldiers.
After the war, Bob and Phil pursue careers in show business and become a successful song-and-dance duo. They meet two talented sisters, Betty and Judy Haynes, and decide to join forces for a new show. The group is soon booked at the Columbia Inn in Pine Tree, Vermont, where they plan to perform a holiday show.
Upon arriving at the inn, they discover it's owned by their former Army commander, General Henry Waverly. The inn is struggling, lacking snowfall for a picturesque white Christmas, and facing financial troubles. The performers decide to organize a big Christmas Eve show to help the general save the inn.
As the group works to prepare for the show, romantic entanglements begin to develop. Bob finds himself falling in love with Betty, while Phil and Judy also become smitten with each other. Meanwhile, they discover that General Waverly's financial problems have left him feeling disheartened.
The heartwarming and musical-filled climax of the story takes place on Christmas Eve when a snowstorm finally arrives, and the inn is transformed into a winter wonderland. The big show is a resounding success, and the general's spirits are lifted.
- "Overture" - Orchestra
- "Happy Holiday (1944)" - Bob Wallace and Phil Davis
- "White Christmas (Music Box)" - Bob, Phil, Ralph Sheldrake and Ensemble
- "Happy Holiday / Let Yourself Go" - Bob, Phil, and Ensemble
- "Love and the Weather" - Bob and Betty Haynes
- "Sisters" - Betty and Judy Haynes
- "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing" - Phil and Quintet
- "Snow" - Phil, Judy, Bob, Betty, Mr. and Mrs. Snoring Man and Ensemble
- "What Can You Do With a General?" - Martha Watson, Bob and Phil
- "Let Me Sing and I'm Happy" - Martha
- "Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)" - Bob and Betty
- "Blue Skies" - Bob and Ensemble
- "Entr'acte" - Orchestra
- "I Love a Piano" - Phil, Judy and Ensemble
- "Falling Out of Love Can Be Fun" - Martha, Betty and Judy
- "Sisters (Reprise)" - Bob and Phil
- "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me / How Deep Is the Ocean?" - Betty and Bob
- "The Old Man (Prelude)" - Bob and Male Ensemble
- "Let Me Sing and I'm Happy (Reprise)" - Susan Waverly
- "How Deep Is the Ocean? (Reprise)" - Betty and Bob
- "The Old Man" - Bob, Phil, Ralph and Male Ensemble
- "White Christmas" - Bob and Company
- "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" - Full Company (Post-Curtain Call)
Listen to some of the songs here: