Review: White Christmas at La Comedia Dinner Theatre

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Review: 'White Christmas' at La Comedia Dinner Theatre

Review: 'White Christmas' at La Comedia Dinner Theatre
Michael Woody
Thursday, November 10, 2022

Mike Woody reviews the theatrical adaptation of the classic movie 'White Christmas' at La Comedia Dinner Theatre now through December.

Mike Woody reviews 'White Christmas' at La Comedia

Normally I don’t promote my articles as a sleeping aide, but this one time I’m making an exception. Rather than sheep, count your blessings, and you will sleep peacefully while also enjoying an abundance of inner joy. There’s not even any charge for that valuable advice. For your own goodness, I’m depriving myself of lots of green-backed blessings to count. Don’t stop reading yet, there are many blessings to count about La Comedia’s production of White Christmas.

First though, is the blessing of the food, as the buffet offers a variety of tasty sensations to enjoy. Some may be able to sleep from counting the number of plates I filled. My calorie intake still pales in comparison though to the number of blessings contained within the show. The blessings provided by Andy Donnelly (Bob Wallace) alone is enough to make you feel weary from counting. His performance is splendid as the soldier turned singer, with a voice that could be labeled as a deadly weapon because it kills. Another blessing is Dom Giovanni (Phil Davis), the duo of Wallace & Davis, is like turkey & dressing, in that together they are even greater than when alone. (Speaking of turkey & dressing, it’s on the buffet.) Giovanni is fun-loving, with a quick wit and some really stellar dance moves.  

The blessings continue with the female leads, who are worth counting twice. The stunning Liv Kurtz illuminates the stage brighter than the Griswald’s house with dazzling vocals as the love-shy Betty Haynes. Her counterpart is Judy Haynes, played by the jovial Allison Gabert. Gabert has appeared in several recent La Comedia shows in smaller roles, and she makes the most of this opportunity to shine. Together Kurtz & Gabert also form an impressive pair, and their voices mix together better than mashed potatoes and gravy, which is also on the buffet. 

Are you still awake? Or have hunger pains? There’s still many more blessings to count. The Inn’s front desk clerk, Martha played by Leanne Greenberg, nearly steals the show. She spits out one-liners faster than a snake does venom, but her rendition of ‘Let Me Sing And I’m Happy’ is worth counting as a blessing itself. It leaves everyone in the audience happy too. The Inn Keeper is General Waverly (Robert Tully), who brings the right amount of reverence to the role. His closing speech was especially moving and perfectly delivered. 

David Thomas is a blessing to every show he’s in. His title role is of the fast-talking talent agent, Ralph Sheldrake, but Thomas also plays a number of uncredited parts. No matter if he’s playing a waiter or just someone in the background, Thomas possesses a magnetizing stage presence. For instance, during ‘Let Me Sing and I’m Happy,’ as a nameless character, Thomas was actively watching with grand facial expressions.

Another blessing is the slow-moving groundskeeper, Ezekiel (Mark Reuter), who serves up a number of laughs. Just don't call Ezekiel if your electric goes out, because you’ll likely be left in the dark for a while. The ray of light provided by the young Susan (Addison Emmons/Adilynn Hatton) is a blessing, especially when she breaks out in song. Plus, Mark Mehlhope blesses the stage as a high-strung stage manager.

The entire cast is a blessing to watch, the ensemble all has toes that twinkle more than Christmas lights. There are multiple high-energy dance numbers. It’s assumed that anyone still reading this frequents La Comedia, so is likely familiar with White Christmas, as it’s their most popular show. Plus it’s a classic movie, so I’m not covering the storyline. I’ve seen at least three productions of White Christmas at La Comedia, and this is the most talented cast.

If still not asleep after counting blessings, go back and read my reviews of past Christmas shows and it will do the trick. I always mention how the traditional singing of ‘O Holy Night’ is a personal highlight of the Christmas season. Donnelly has some big shoes to fill in performing the duty, and he more than meets the challenge. His rendition is emotionally stirring and is worth the price of admission alone. It brought a tear to my eye, or maybe it was just some sleep from the overabundance of blessings the song bestowed upon me. 

Here’s a million-dollar proposition, go see White Christmas at La Comedia, and be extremely blessed with a wonderful production and sound sleep from having so many blessings to count.

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About Michael Woody

Michael Woody
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.