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Holiday Inn
Photograph: Joan MarcusHoliday Inn

Theater review: Holiday Inn brings a White Christmas to Broadway

Written by
David Cote

The thought has fanned many a flame in a stage-trouper breast: “Show business could be the solution!” That crazy hope suddenly strikes crooner Jim Hardy (Bryce Pinkham) as a way to save the rickety Connecticut farmhouse he bought to escape…wouldn’t ya know: showbiz. Jim invites a mob of dancers, singers and chorus kids to put on splashy routines devoted to Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Christmas and the rest. That slim premise is all you need to grasp Holiday Inn, the 1942 Bing Crosby–Fred Astaire movie musical that book writer–director Gordon Greenberg has renovated and refurbished as a seasonal stage attraction.

Taking on the Astaire role as cocky hoofer Ted Hanover, Corbin Bleu (High School Musical) has a winning muscularity and grace in various tap and ballroom sequences. Pinkham generates some chemistry with Lora Lee Gayer as a lonely schoolteacher whose family used to own the house. They duet sweetly on “White Christmas,” one of the two dozen-odd Irving Berlin ditties jukeboxed into a jazzy-elegant score. And let’s hear it for the chorus—an adorable, charmingly diverse bunch. Sure, there’s more corn and cheese served in this earnest, sweater-vested affair than any nutritionist would approve, but what harm in a cup of early eggnog?

Studio 54 (Broadway). Music and lyrics by Irving Berlin. Book by Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge. Directed by Greenberg. With Bryce Pinkham, Lora Lee Gayer, Megan Lawrence, Megan Sikora, Corbin Bleu and Lee Wilkof. Through Jan 15. Click here for full ticket and venue information.

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