(*homocinematically inclined)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Reel Thoughts Interview: Dreaming of a White Christmas

Let yourself go, relax. You aren’t going to have to solve math logarithms when you see Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, now on national tour. All you have to do is dream of a snowy holiday in Vermont where two Broadway hoofers woo a couple of sisters and try to save a old friend’s Inn. You won’t see Bing Crosby, but then again, why would you want to? No one can replace Bing, so the makers of this seasonal hit don’t even try. What they do try to do is recreate the 1954 classic film on stage complete with its great music like “Let Yourself Go”, “Blue Skies”, “Sisters” and of course the title song. If we are lucky, the inimitable Ruth Williamson (Nip/Tuck, La Cage Aux Folles) will recreate her Broadway role, since she is one of Broadway’s true divas.

Brandon Davidson is happy to be a part of the show for the fourth year in a row. “It’s like an old family getting together and we’re going to do this Christmas show,” he explained. The youngest of six kids, Davidson grew up in beautiful San Diego. “I’m the only one who moved away,” he laughed. He received his BFA in Musical Theatre from Boston Conservatory, which then presented an annual showcase for New York casting directors. “So the program basically dumps you right into Times Square,” he joked. He’s lived in New York City since 2005.

“The reason I love this show so much is the choreography and the music. The second show I saw in New York was 42nd Street which was choreographed by Randy Skinner, who is the choreographer for White Christmas, and his style is inspired by Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire and that old world musical theater style. I grew up listening to jazz and the show is set in the fifties, so to be able to live in that world and dance that style again... I have a real passion for that style. It’s very American and rooted in jazz.”

Since the show is set in a Broadway milieu where two friends try to save their commanding general’s inn by putting on a show, the ensemble has lots of opportunities to shine. “The opening number, “Let Yourself Go” is a blast. It’s like being shot out of a cannon. It’s about seven minutes long and it’s a tap number. My favorite number in the show is when Betty sings, “Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me”. It’s her “eleven o’clock number” and it is set in a Broadway cabaret, so it has that mood about it. She has three dancers who partner her one-by-one, and I am one of those dancers. It’s very emotionally based because she’s just been through sort of a break-up, and I think that Randy’s work and his intuition as a choreographer really shines in this number. “

Davidson also works as a house manager for Broadway shows, including the New York Musical Theater Festival, the showcase that launched [title of show], Altar Boyz, Next To Normal, Yank! and The Great American Trailer Park Musical. The show that he expects to see share that kind of success is Kiki Baby. Starring Broadway favorite Jenn Colella as the title character, a four year old who is gifted with an angelic voice, Kiki Baby tells the story of how she is exploited by her mother and needy neighbors in 1931 Germany.

Interview by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.

1 comment:

  1. Great Post! I just love the Holiday season because it grants me the right to watch cheesy musicals without any apologies. I just can't get enough!