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Sooner Theatre presenting 'Irving Berlin's White Christmas'

Sooner Theatre celebrates the holidays with “Irving Berlin's White Christmas.”
BY JOHN BRANDENBURG Published: November 27, 2012

— Show business panache and pizazz was more important than the lack of snow, and even triumphed over a somewhat sappy, sentimental plot, in the Sooner Theatre's production of “Irving Berlin's White Christmas.”

Based on classic color and black-and-white movie versions, the musical made good use of minimal, movable sets, backdrops and a live band. Andrew Franklin was a good catalyst as Phil Davis, the more flirtatious half of a song-and-dance duo, and found his romantic counterpart in Taylor Steedman, as Judy, the more outgoing member of a sister act.

Particularly delightful were the carefree moves of Franklin and Steedman in act one's “The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing,” and their handling of the second act opening “I Love a Piano.”

Providing a nice contrast to them were Brandon Adams as Bob Wallace, and Robin Huston as Betty Haynes, who got across the more introspective, romantically cautious attitudes of their characters.

An early song expressing their humorous doubts about the unpredictability of “Love and the Weather” was followed by a touching duet urging a sleepless child to “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep.”

Even more moving was an unusual, but highly effective second act segment by Huston and Adams, set in a posh New York City nightclub. In this vignette, a glamorously clad Huston brought a strong voice and emotional warmth to “Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me,” joined by Adams, sitting alone at a table, singing “How Deep Is The Ocean.”

But if the two principal romantic couples supplied the show with its musical heart, the performances of many of the supporting characters greatly broadened its appeal. Jack Hays was just forceful, crusty and clueless enough as the World War II general out of his element, trying to run a quaint ski resort inn in Vermont, where you can't order it to snow.

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