Can a reprised show based on a classic be better than the original?
If anyone is questioning if the stage production of White Christmas showing in Omaha through this weekend could be better than the original classic movie with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney, they need to get to the Orpheum this weekend.
Who would best enjoy this show? Everyone, of all ages, but it does help if you have some memory of the Ed Sullivan Show and Topo Gigio, the puppet.
The show is about a friendship of two song-and-dance men, Bob and Phil, who first worked together while in the military during World War II. After the war, their act continued making them into successful celebrities.
With the upcoming holidays, the two plan to spend some time in Florida, relaxing and golfing while looking for ways to improve their show.
Phil is intrigued by a sister act recommended by an old Army buddy and drags Bob to the show. Both are impressed and attracted to the sisters who have been contracted to entertain at an inn in Vermont.
Phil manages to "accidentally" maneuver Bob to the wrong train and being with the sisters in Vermont.
Coincidentally, all four are bound for an inn in Vermont owned by their former general whose new business is nearly bankrupt.
This show has phenomenal actors, singers, and dancers that are also well-known. Most notably Conrad John Schuck who I recognize as being in Annie and Lorna Luft who is a daughter of Judy Garland and sister to Liza Minnelli. The entire cast is tremendously energetic and talented.
What made this particular show special were the small elements not found in the original movie.
In the film, Bob and Betty could sing, and Phil and Judy could dance. With these four performers, all four both sing and dance. I find it hard to believe, but Bob and Betty sing as well if not better than Bing and Rosemary and Phil and Judy dance better than the movie version.
The story line in the on-stage production is smoother connecting the past war relationships to their meeting at the Inn ten years later.
The character of Martha Watson, initially portrayed by Mary Wickes, is essentially Ethel Merman. Lorna Luft beautifully recreated this almost larger-than-life performer.
Yes, I am old enough to remember the Ed Sullivan Show, and I completely enjoy the remembrances.
White Christmas continues through Sunda y with two shows on both weekend days. Ticket prices begin at $30 and can be purchased either on-line at TicketOmaha.com of by going to the box office at the Holland Performing Arts Center at 12th and Douglas in Omaha. For group prices of 10 or more, call (402) 661-8516 or (866) 434-8587 for special rates.
What is unique about this show is the message that all of us need to have always reinforced to daily "Count Your Blessings."
Seeing "White Christmas" is a blessing for everyone.