La Comedia’s best – selling show of all-time is back, the sweet potato soufflé is better than ever, and the traditional singing of ‘O Holy Night’ is emotionally stirring.
For those with trouble falling asleep, reading my reviews hopefully won’t help, but a song in the musical ‘White Christmas’ suggests counting blessings instead of sheep. Some blessings to count are; the election is over, Chris Kramer hasn’t moved to Hollywood yet, La Comedia’s best – selling show of all-time is back, the sweet potato soufflé is better than ever, and the traditional singing of ‘O Holy Night’ is emotionally stirring. Still awake? At the risk of causing drowsiness, there are plenty of blessings to count from the performance of ‘White Christmas’ at La Comedia.
Chief among the blessings, is a superb cast, who has millennials asking; who is Bing Crosby? And, is Rosemary Clooney related to George? The talents of the stars from 1954 film pale in comparison to the skills displayed on the La Comedia stage. As the strait-laced Bob Wallace, Austin Adomits is pitch perfect. His cohort, Phil Davis, played by Caleb Michael is equally grand. Together, they form a duo more harmonious than two turtle doves. Their female counterparts are the lovely Haynes sisters, beautiful in both sound and appearance. Mica Dominguez-Robinson plays Betty and Marjie Shrimpton fills the role of Judy.
Another blessing is the singing of Andrea Spencer Christensen as the Inn’s housekeeper, Martha Watson. Christensen has an impressive voice, as her rendition of ‘Let Me Sing And I’m Happy’ is more powerful than a Vermont blizzard. My wife likes to remind me that she’s always right, and Christensen was her favorite part of the show. I can’t argue, I’d be wrong anyway. There’s no doubt that many others will agree with her. When Christensen sings, it’s reminiscent of a star being born (watch out Lady Gaga).
The blessings continue with Chris Kramer, who counts for at least two. The first is for his honorable portrayal of General Waverly, a Veteran of the war. Like with every role he plays, Kramer brings professionalism and wisdom to it. The second blessing he’s responsible for is the singing of ‘O Holy Night.’ In all seriousness, a highlight of the holiday season for me is La Comedia’s traditional singing of the song. In my opinion, it’s like two shows for the price of one, as Kramer’s rendition contains as much emotion and vocal prowess as a full length musical. There have been years, no specifics given, when I’ve sat through the Christmas show just for ‘O Holy Night.’
‘White Christmas’ is blessed with a strong supporting cast; including Rhoda (Tonya Oslack) and Rita (Megan Stricker), who add some comic relief and sex appeal as a dim-witted duo desperate for attention. More laughs are derived from Ezekiel (Mark Reuter), the slow moving caretaker of the Inn, and the high-strung stage manager Mike Nulty (Nicholas C. Breiner). Plus there’s the fast talking Ralph Sheldrake (David Thomas) who is always developing new million dollar propositions. While Sophie Caton/Mandi Kingrey as Susan Waverly are both several years younger than their cast mates they are proof that talent is ageless.
The show is also blessed with some stellar sets and the transitions are faster than the norm. Finally, the food on the buffet must also be counted as a blessing, which includes another holiday staple, the pineapple soufflé. I started training my stomach for the holiday season by making multiple trips to the buffet.
Also, consider yourself blessed if you see ‘White Christmas’ at La Comedia, which continues through December 31 and sleep well from having so many blessings to count.
Mike Woody is a life long resident of Dayton, and has a passion for writing, which is good because he doesn't excel at much of anything else, except eating.