The production is pleasantly reminiscent of the 1942 movie musical, but a bit too tired for the modern stage.
Director Gordon Greenberg and co-writer Chad Hodge turned the film, starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, into a feel-good piece of eye candy.
But sadly, many aspects of the plot are just too predictable and too clean.
Singer Jim (Bryce Pinkham) separates from his best friend and dancing partner Ted (Corbin Bleu) to follow his dreams of buying a farm and living outside of the spotlight. When his crops fail and his mortgage is due, he finds himself in a bit of a pickle.
He turns to his Broadway friends for help and decide to turn his inn into a theatrical venue that’s only open on the holidays. It’s a concept that doesn’t hold an ounce of weight these days, but lends itself well to this over easy story.
Don’t forget the cliché romance that anyone can see coming from a mile away; the local schoolteacher, Linda (Lora Lee Gayer), finds happiness with Jim… until Ted arrives at the Holiday Inn, renewing her dreams of being a performer.
Though it’s a great treat to hear the charismatic Pinkham croon Berlin’s hits such as “White Christmas” and “Cheek to Cheek,” his role would have been more exciting had he been allowed to demonstrate his comedic abilities, a la his Tony nominated role in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.
Corbin Bleu is coming into his own as a theater actor; this is his third Broadway show. He spreads energy and intrigue into every one of his scenes. He even tap dances into the audience, a daring and excellent choice on Greenberg’s part!
If only Holiday Inn had been more farcical amidst all of its glamour.
Denis Jones’ masterful choreography is the real star of this show. Alejo Vietti’s phenomenal costumes take a close second.
Each holiday is given its proper due, every one outfitted more outrageously and creatively than the last. Thanksgiving accoutrements and outlandish Easter hats are exuberant standouts. Unfortunately, the book did not rise to the same levels of original artistry.