Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Broadway Theater Review: Holiday Inn -- TOP PICK



Holiday Inn
Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin
Book by Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge
Directed by Gordon Greenberg
Choreographed by Denis Jones
Roundabout Theatre Company
through Jan. 1

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
It's a feel-good holiday musical inspired by the Academy Award-winning film "Holiday Inn" and features more than 20 Irving Berlin songs including “Blue Skies,” “Steppin’ Out With My Baby,” “Shaking the Blues Away,” “Easter Parade,” “Happy Holiday” and “Heatwave.”  

Bryce Pinkham stars as Jim Hardy who wants to give up a life in the theater to settle down on a farm in Midville, CT. He casts showbiz partner Lila Dixon (Megan Sikora) as his wife, but she asks him to wait until she finishes the next performance tour with Ted Hanover (Corbin Bleu). 

As you might expect, Lila doesn't return, so Jim finds himself alone on the farm. Well, not exactly alone. Showing up on his doorstep is Linda Mason (Lora Lee Gayer), former owner of the farm before it went into foreclosure, and its former caretaker, Louise (Megan Lawrence -- I saw excellent understudy Jennifer Foote) who soon convince him to turn the farm into an inn which specializes in shows on the holidays when Jim's entertainment friends are off and can help out. Romantic chaos ensues when Lila and Ted end up back in the scene and Ted thinks Linda is the perfect dance partner and wants to give her a shot at her dream of being a star in the new movie he is shooting out in California.

What Are the Highlights?
A good old-fashioned musical with great songs, a wholesome plot, sparkling costumes  (Alejo Vietti, design) and showstopping choreography by Denis Jones who has folks tapping and jumping rope -- and yeah, the firecracker dance made famous by Fred Astaire is in there, though Bleu seems a bit miscast in the role. Understudy Jennifer Foote was a pleasant surprise as the feisty and funny Louise and if I were keeping score, she might have come away with the best performance of the day.

Set Designer Anna Louizos takes us on a fantasy trip that starts with Victorian housing around the proscenium and provides delightful settings and holiday-themed backdrops.

What Are the Lowlights?
The chorus,  (under the Musical Direction of Andy Einhorn), isn't together at times and there are some flat notes.

There's nowhere to get up and dance to the great Berlin tunes. The grey-haired crowd at the matinee's could be part of the action at the inn reliving memories of dancing to the music played by an orchestra in boxes at either side of the house.

More Information:
Holiday Inn brightens the season at Studio 54, 254 West 54th St., NYC, through Jan. 1. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday evening at 8 pm with Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 pm. Tickets are $47-$157 roundabouttheatre.org;  212-719-1300.

This show originally was developed at The Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut.

The cast also includes Malik Akil, Will Burton, Barry Busby, Darien Crago, Caley Crawford, Jenifer Foote, Morgan Gao, Matt Meigs, Shina Ann Morris, Catherine Ricafort, Drew Redington, Amanda Rose, Jonalyn Saxer, Parker Slaybaugh, Samantha Sturm, Amy Van Norstrand, Travis Ward-Osborne, Paige Williams, Victor Wisehart, Kevin Worley, Borris York. 

Additional credits:
Jeff Croiter (Lights), Keith Caggiano (Sound), Charles G. La Pointe (Wigs), Joe Dulude II (Make-up), Larry Blank (Orchestrations), Sam Davis (Vocal and Dance Arrangements), Bruce Pomahac (Additional Dance and Vocal Arrangements), John Miller (Music Coordinator).

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FACTORS:
-- No content notes. This is the one to see with the entire family while you are in for holiday fun in the city this Thanksgiving and Christmas.

No comments:

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/.

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com), an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.

Copyright

All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact reflectionsinthelight@gmail.com

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Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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