I'm Dreaming of a.... (cue music)

Quick—name a song from the show “White Christmas.”

No, not that one. Too obvious.

How about “Sisters”? Or “Blue Skies”?

There’s more than one great number in the Spokane Civic Theatre production of “White Christmas” in its Northwest premiere, right here in Bing Crosby’s hometown.

To the credit of Spokane’s talent pool I didn’t think once about Bing Crosby (or about Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, who played the other three major roles in the original film).

This despite the fact that as a kid I watched every one of the Crosby/Hope “Road” movies with Dorothy Lamour multiple times, along with plenty of other movies starring some combination of the singing, dancing and acting talents of the mid-20th century.

Instead I marveled at the talent we have here. What, did my mom miss the memo or something? How do all these adults know how to tap dance like that?! She should have kept hauling me to dance lessons but nooooo, it was my little sister who had the dance ability and got to keep going after I quit.

I said before in my review of The Cemetery Club at the Civic that I’m no theater reviewer. I just love going and entering into the magic that falls over the room when the lights dim and the orchestra (or, in this case, fairly small ensemble) strikes up the first note or the first line is spoken. And magic it was, clear up to the end when the audience participated right on cue.

Of special note for me:
  • I was blown away by the tap dancing.
  • I loved the singing.
  • Kevin Partridge reminded me of Michael Buble when he sang “Blue Skies” and struck just the right expression after his first kiss from the rich-voiced Betty Haynes (played by Andrea Dawson).
  • Their voices blended so beautifully in the combo number “Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me/How Deep Is the Ocean.”
  • Kathie Doyle-Lipe as Martha “The Megaphone” Watson was spunky and funny as always—and those cartwheels are a scene stealer.
  • When Elizabeth Martin as little Susan Waverly finally got to belt out a number everyone was delighted by her talent.
  • The staging for the number in which General Waverly’s men are represented by shadowy silhouettes marching behind the backdrop was particularly striking.
  • The women’s costumes were wonderful, with some beautiful rich fabrics.
  • I always marvel at set design and how they can put so many places into such compact spaces; the same is true again here, with everything from a nightclub and a train to a barn.
  • All four leads had to undress and dress again on stage (and probably thanked their lucky stars that undergarments were pretty substantial in the 1950s).
  • Special credit goes to Kevin Partridge for dealing nicely with a stuck zipper—he had us all in suspense as to how he would handle it if it wouldn’t go up.
  • Paige Wamsley and Jillian Wylie as Rita and Rhoda entered into the spirit of their roles as the Oxydol girls and the "lite" version of the two female leads, Siri Hafso as Judy Haynes and Andrea Dawson as Betty Haynes.
  • Ed Bryan as Ezekiel Foster showed just how much humor you can pack into two things: walking really, r-e-a-l-l-y slowly and saying, “Ayup.” Oh, make that three things: giving an unexpected gift and a hug.

The scene that really got me, though? The discussion about what you do with a general when the time for war has passed. I couldn’t help but think of all the men and women coming home now, wartorn and marked for life. We can’t all just head to Vermont for a nice Christmas Eve variety show at an inn and make their lives whole.

That isn’t the point of the play, obviously. It’s a wonderful, heartwarming production in the best sense of the word “heartwarming,” at least for me as a sentimental woman who cries easily (and who is now wondering how hard it would be to learn to tap dance at my age….).

It’s no wonder that as of two days ago the Civic was down to around 1,000 tickets out of a total 8,000 seats available. Get yours now.


  1. Ticket update Friday Nov. 19-- Down to 300 seats left.

  2. White Christmas is now officially sold out. Working w/some of the organizations who have scheduled benefit nights for White Christmas to see if they have tickets available. Thus far The Ministry Institute is in....more info on how to contact them for possible ticketing information to come on Monday.

    Huge thanks to pretty amazing Civic supporters across our region for making this run of White Christmas record breaking (three days in to the run). Our patrons rock!


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