'Holiday Inn' On Broadway Via Goodspeed
“Holiday Inn,” the 1942 film that starred Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby and a calendar full of Irving Berlin tunes, has gotten a complete and first-class stage redo at Roundabout Theatre Company, turning this shaky fixer-upper into prime property that should please audiences looking for an easy-on-the-eyes, none-too-taxing escape. Director Gordon Greenberg and co-writer Chad Hodge (TV’s “Good Behavior,” “Wayward Pines”) have significantly rethought, reshaped and revitalized the script, giving the show more heart, a slightly modern sensibility and a joyful spirit. Engaging performances, dynamic dancing and a lively orchestra make it the feel-good show of the fall.
The musical has an entirely new cast and has been significantly sharpened since its well-received launch at the Goodspeed Opera House in 2014, and its second perch last year at the Muny of St. Louis.
Produced in association with Universal Stage Prods. with access to much of the Berlin catalogue, the show is stuffed with standards, supplementing the film’s “Easter Parade,” “Happy Holiday” and “White Christmas” with such hum-alongs as “Shaking the Blues Away,” “Heat Wave,” “Blue Skies” and “It’s a Lovely Day Today.” And that’s just in the first act.
Choreographer Denis Jones is the star player of the production, keeping things playful by finding dance opportunities with wheelbarrows, firecrackers and Christmas garlands — and nearly stopping the show with the exuberant “Shaking the Blues Away,” which evokes the best of MGM musicals. Terrific also are Alejo Vietti’s costumes and fab Easter hats, which embrace ’40s swank, showbiz glitz and stylish down-on-the-farm casual. (It’s Connecticut, after all.)