||[Oct. 15th, 2016|01:32 am]
If you go to Holiday Inn, leave your Crosby and Astaire ideas at home, with everything you might remember about the movie. The basic outline (and, to be fair, a number of specifics) of the post-New Year's part of the movie gets shorthanded in the second act of The New Irving Berlin Musical!, but everything prior is tossed out for a first act that's entirely new invention, taking an hour to arrive at the starting idea of the movie. It's a story about two guys named Jim and Ted and two girls named Lila and Linda, but that's about it. Songs you might remember from the movie are also for the most part not appearing in this show.
Having discarded vast swaths of the source material, the creators did a fine job of replacing it all with inferior stuff. Shticky scenes, songs that aren't Berlin's best (not that every one in the movie is a winner), new lyrics that stick out like sore thumbs, unpleasant characters, this show has it all. There's a lot of "Why is this happening?," and a lot of wondering why, if they set out to make a stage version of Holiday Inn, they would start by tossing out most of the movie without a good plan for replacing it.
And there's hardly a ballad in sight. Every number is firing full-out from the start, or else gets to it quickly. The work of the cast is commendable; there's a lot of show, and it has to be tiring. Corbin Bleu is the big standout (as Ted, the Fred Astaire role), showing off some serious dancing chops. Bryce Pinkham is good as himself, which is the opposite of Bing Crosby in every way. Which, ok, they didn't make the show for a Crosby type or didn't want to imitate or whatever, but still, it's a lot of repeal with no replacement plan.
So, it's not a terrible time, I'm not going to warn you away, but I don't really recommend it. It might be the only classic, tap-happy option at the moment. But if you want to see the movie Holiday Inn staged, don't go looking for it at Studio 54 this fall.