White Christmas is a feel-good, classic nineteen-fifties story, chalk full of corny jokes and familiar tropes, and uplifting songs that won’t stick in your head. I found myself able to clearly see the story’s path ahead, and unengaged.
The story of White Christmas in itself was uplifting, nostalgic, heartwarming. It portrays a story of love, and the American dream. But it does a poor job. America is not made up of white people dancing and singing with one dark-skinned woman in their mist, as White Christmas’ casting would suggest.
Attending White Christmas on Tuesday night, just one day after the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson, Missouri, felt incorrect. No matter the details of the specific events in Ferguson, there is no denying that there is still a race problem in America.
America is a melting pot; today, as it was always. We have people of all skin colors in this country, and it is time we had broadway shows that portrayed that truth.
It is time that shows were cast to reflect the population. Just because this show takes its story from a movie staring caucasian people, does not mean that today’s casting should not be changed to reflect the truth. White Christmas would be a better show if it did not recreate the story in a period of time from which American society is still recovering. The story would be just as pleasing presented in today’s setting.
Seeing old movies put on stage is becoming tiring. The script does not translate as well for the stage as it undoubtedly does for the screen; without a close up on the actors face our characters lose depth, and we do not feel as attached. This said, specifically to White Christmas, the jokes still got laughs, and the characters were not devoid of that certain spark that compels us to watch them. With characters that span ages from childhood to old age, and males and females well balanced, the story manages to remain engaging.
The show’s high points were its musical numbers. The dancing was beautiful to watch, even–especially–from a seat in the nosebleeds. The era’s propensity for spectacular partnering and tapping to upbeat tunes is appealing to the eyes and ears.
Although predictable, White Christmas may be just the show you need to get into the Christmas spirit. Where else will you find such highly skilled performers portraying a story filled with 1950s Christmas spirit? On the flip side, it may not be worth a trip to the theater, when you could rent the film. Broadway may be able to find a better use of its efforts.
White Christmas came to town at the wrong time, with the news about Ferguson hot off the press, but, it may never be able to come to town at the right time again. America should no longer be a place where certain races being ignored in the theater is tolerated.