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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Holiday Inn

Now playing on Broadway, Holiday Inn, a musical based on the1942  Bing Crosby-Fred Astaire movie.

We had a chance to see it the other night. 

The movie, as you'll recall, had a thin plot designed as a framework for Irving Berlin's holiday songs.   Expanded to a stage musical, plot and character become far more important.  The basic storyline is the same -- Jim Hardy, his girlfriend Lila Dixon and his buddy Ted Hanover are performers, bringing their song and dance act around the country.  Jim quits to become a farmer, Lila dumps him for Ted.  when farming doesn't work, with the help of his new girlfriend Linda Mason,  he turns his farmhouse into an inn where shows are presented on each holiday.  When Lila dumps Ted, Ted shows up at the inn, and seeks out Linda as his new dance partner.  There are changes to the details, of course, and songs some songs have been dropped, others added.

The Irving Berlin music is, of course, spectacular.  the dancing is energetic and enthusiastic.  I especially enjoyed the Christmas number, where the dancers were using garlands as jump ropes.  The 4th of July number -- where Astaire danced with firecrackers -- has been lovingly recreated on the stage. 

Interesting tidbit.  The show is presented in Studio 54, a theater without an orchestra pit.  The orchestra is housed in what would otherwise be box seats on either side of the stage, in full view of the audience.  I love to see the musicians. 

  Decent production, great music, wonderful dance sequences.  Familiar plot, some humor, some tender moments.  Overall I'd give the show a B+.

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