A stage version of the 1942 film "Holiday Inn" debuts on Broadway. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.
A decade before Holiday Inns started popping up across the country, there was "Holiday Inn," the 1942 movie musical. The film starred Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire featuring some of Irving Berlin's most famous songs. And now comes the stage version. The story's been tweaked and songs added for Broadway, but despite the iconic music and terrific dancing, "Holiday Inn" emerges as a quasi-jukebox musical that's pretty much by the numbers.
On the plus side, those musical numbers are sublime.The film gave us White Christmas and Easter Parade among others. The stage version added more classics like "Blue Skies," "Cheek to Cheek" and "Shaking The Blues Away." If only the story that frames these delightful songs didn't feel so forced. Granted, it was hokey in the movies, but its requisite charms are diminished here.
The book by director Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge features underwritten characters lacking the kind of motivation that compels audiences to care.
And so, Bryce Pinkham, a wonderful performer with a lovely tenor in the Bing Crosby role, registers rather lackluster here.
Leading lady Lara Lee Gayer, also musically gifted, is equally subdued.
And the mega-talented Megan Lawrence can't quite rise above the cliched role of the spunky sidekick.
The big surprise here is Corbin Bleu. A true triple threat, he supplies the show's pyrotechnics, both figurative and literal.
But the true star of "Holiday Inn" is the dancing, and in the hands and feet of this excellent ensemble, Denis Jones' choreography is dazzlingly inventive.
"Holiday Inn" is pleasant enough, but when I think of its musical peers from the era - namely "White Christmas" - it's more workaday by comparison.