New Christmas Traditions: ‘White Christmas’ The Musical & Nutcracker Tickets

New Christmas Traditions: ‘White Christmas’ The Musical & Nutcracker Tickets

Christmas is all about tradition. As for myself, I have two personal Christmastime traditions. One involves the movie White Christmas while the other involves watching The Nutcracker on television.

While I wrap the dozens of expensive gifts I buy for friends, family, and virtual strangers (as you know I’m generous to a fault), I watch the movie White Christmas.

That’s the classic flick from 1954 starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. It features the greatest “modern” Christmas song of all-time, “White Christmas,” as well as other Irving Berlin classics like “Sisters,” ‘The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing,” “Snow,” and “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep.”

I’ve seen the movie so many times I can darn near recite it “1950’s slang” for “1950’s slang.” The movie is dated as a gramophone or a moderate democrat but that’s why it’s so charming—they just don’t make movies like that anymore.

My other Christmas tradition is after everyone has gone to sleep on Christmas Eve, and before Santa arrives (euphuism for pass out), I watch The Nutcracker. In particular, I watch Mark MorrisThe Hard Nut on a rather obscure cable network called Ovation. Every year fans vote for their favorite version of the legendary ballet and every year Morris’ ultra-hip Hard Nut wins.

With its funky costumes and modern dance moves, The Hard Nut is a radical departure from the original ballet choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. Nonetheless, the production still captures the holiday spirit and expertly tells E.T.A. Hoffmann’s fabulous story.

The Nutcracker debuted at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia on Dec. 18, 1892. Not only was the production a flop, but its composer, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, never liked the score. Petipa gave Tchaikovsky such specific instructions on the structure of the music that he finished it only after much reluctance.

Despite all that, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker score is one of the most famous pieces of music ever written and the ballet, which has become a Christmas staple, is performed all over the world. It’s not the holidays unless you and your family have Nutcracker tickets.

This year alone you can see the Nutcracker in Columbia, South Carolina at the Township Auditorium: San Antonio, Texas at the Majestic Theatre: and in Boston, Massachusetts at the Boston Opera House, just to name a few of the dozens of venues hosting a local production of the ballet.

For decades, the only way you could see the Nutcracker was live on stage. Only recently have you been able to enjoy it on television or video. Conversely, White Christmas was a movie and only recently turned into a stage production.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas debuted in San Francisco in 2004. Since then the musical has twice played on Broadway, had a run in Australia, and toured the U.S. and the U.K.

This year White Christmas is back out on the road visiting select U.S. markets through the New Year (see below for a complete schedule).

The show stars John Scherer as Bob Wallace (Crosby) and Denis Lambert as Phil Davis (Kaye). Amy Bodnar and Shannon M. O’Bryan play the talented sister act of Betty and Judy Haynes. In the movie, Betty and Judy were played by Rosemary Clooney and the super leggy Vera-Ellen.

White Christmas the musical features all the songs from the film as well as a few others from Berlin’s catalog. The story is basically the same with the tweaks you’d imagine for a stage show. And it goes without saying that the musical has more singing and dancing than its cinematic counterpart.

I’d like to think that while White Christmas the movie and broadcast versions of The Nutcracker are personal traditions of mine, the live productions of those two franchises are the traditions of families all over the Christmas-celebrating world.

Furthermore, don’t feel sorry for me that I muse so favorably on traditions that are solitary affairs. The loneliness is gladly endured since my traditions don’t require that I wear any pants.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas Itinerary
Nov. 22-28 – Schenectady, NY @ Proctors
Nov. 30 – Dec. 5 – Tampa, FL @ David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts
Dec. 7-12 – Charlotte, NC @ Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
Dec. 15 – Jan. 2 – Chicago, IL @ Bank of American Theatre

Learn More About .