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White Christmas

Album Cover

A musical in 2 Acts: Music and lyrics by Irving Berlin; book by David Ives and Oaul Blake, based on the Paramount Pictures film written for the screen by Norman Krasna, Norman Panama and Melvin Frank.

Marquis Theatre, Broadway. First preview 14th November, 2008; Opened 23rd November, 2008; closed 4th January, 2009 (53 performances)

Synopsis (film)

The story is about two World War II U.S. Army buddies, one a former Broadway entertainer, Bob Wallace and a would-be entertainer, Phil Davis. It begins on Christmas Eve, 1944, somewhere in Europe. In a forward area, Captain Wallace is giving a show to the men with the help of Private Davis. Major General Thomas F. Waverly arrives for the end of the show and has a field inspection prior to being relieved of command by General Harold G. Coughlan. The men give him a rousing send-off. During an enemy artillery barrage, Davis saves Wallace's life from a toppling wall, wounding his arm slightly in the process. Using his "wounded" arm and telling Bob he doesn't expect any "special obligation", Phil convinces Bob to join forces as an entertainment duo when the war is over. Phil using his arm wound as a way to get Bob to do what he wants becomes a running gag throughout the movie.

After the war, they make it big in nightclubs, radio, and then on Broadway. They become the hottest act around and eventually become producers. They subsequently have a big hit with their New York musical, Playing Around. In mid-December, after 2 years on Broadway, the show is in Florida. While at the Florida Theatre, they receive a letter from "Freckle-Faced Haynes, the dog-faced boy", a mess sergeant they knew in the war, asking them to audition his two sisters. When they go to the club to audition the act, Betty reveals that her sister, Judy, sent the letter. Bob and Phil help Betty and Judy escape their landlord and the local sheriff (the landlord claimed that the sisters had burned a $200 rug). The boys do the song "Sisters" to a record as the girls escape to the train. Phil gives Betty and Judy the train tickets that he and Bob were intending to use. When Bob and Phil arrive on the train, they have no tickets. Using "his arm" again, Phil gets Bob to agree to travel with the girls to Vermont for the holidays. They discover that the Columbia Inn in Pine Tree, Vermont, is run by their former commanding officer, Major General Tom Waverly, and it's about to go bankrupt because of the lack of snow and consequent lack of patrons. The general has invested all his savings and pension into the lodge.

Deciding to help out and bring business in, Wallace and Davis bring Playing Around with their entire Broadway cast up and add Betty and Judy where they can. Bob discovers the General's rejected attempt at rejoining the army, and decides to prove to the General that he isn't forgotten.

Bob calls Ed Harrison, an old army friend, now host of a successful variety show (intentionally similar to Ed Sullivan's). When Bob wants to make a pitch on the show to all the men under the command of the General in the war, Harrison suggests they go all out and put the show on television, playing up the "schmaltz" factor of the General's situation and generating lots of free advertising for Wallace and Davis. Overhearing only this, the housekeeper, Emma Allen, tells Betty. Bob tells Ed that isn't the idea and that he only wishes to make a pitch to get as many people from their division to Pine Tree for the show on Christmas Eve. The misunderstanding causes Betty to leave for a job at the Carousel Club in New York, after Phil and Judy fake their engagement in the hope of bringing Betty and Bob closer together.

On the Ed Harrison Show, Bob asks all the veterans of the 151st Division living in the New England area to come to Pine Tree, Vermont on Christmas Eve.

All is set right when Betty sees Bob's pitch on the Ed Harrison show. She returns to Pine Tree just in time for the show on Christmas Eve. Believing all of his suits had been sent to the cleaners, General Waverly concludes that he'll have to appear in his old uniform. When the General enters the lodge where the show is to take place, he is greeted by his former division to a rousing chorus of "We'll Follow the Old Man", and moments later is notified that snow is falling.

In a memorable finale, Bob and Betty declare their love, as do Phil and Judy. Everyone raises a glass, toasting, "May your days be merry and bright; and may all your Christmases be white."

Musical Numbers

Act I

  1. Happy Holiday ... Bob Wallace and Phil Davis
  2. White Christmas ... Bob Wallace, Phil Davis, Ralph Sheldrake and Ensemble
  3. Let Yourself Go ... Bob Wallace, Phil Davis and Ensemble
  4. Love and the Weather ... Bob Wallace and Betty Haynes
  5. Sisters ... Betty Haynes and Judy Haynes
  6. The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing ... Phil Davis, Judy Haynes and Quintet Member
  7. Snow ... Bob Wallace, Phil Davis, Betty Haynes, Judy Haynes, Mr. Snoring Man, Mrs. Snoring Man and Ensemble
  8. What Can You Do With a General? ... Martha Watson, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis
  9. Let Me Sing and I'm Happy ... Martha Watson and Ensemble
  10. Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep ... Bob Wallace and Betty Haynes
  11. Blue Skies ... Bob Wallace and Ensemble

Act II

  1. I Love a Piano ... Phil Davis, Judy Haynes and Ensemble
  2. Falling Out of Love Can Be Fun ... Martha Watson, Betty Haynes and Judy Haynes
  3. Sisters (Reprise) ... Bob Wallace and Phil Davis
  4. Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me/How Deep Is the Ocean ... Betty Haynes and Bob Wallace
  5. We'll Follow the Old Man ... Bob Wallace and Male Ensemble
  6. Let Me Sing and I'm Happy (Reprise) ... Susan Waverly
  7. How Deep Is the Ocean (Reprise) ... Bob Wallace and Betty Haynes
  8. We'll Follow the Old Man (Reprise) ... Bob Wallace, Phil Davis, Ralph Sheldrake and Male Ensemble
  9. White Christmas (Reprise) ... Bob Wallace and Company
  10. I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm ... Full Company

Principal roles

Scenes and Settings