Broadway By Design: Anna Louizos and Alejo Vietti Bring HOLIDAY INN from Page to Stage
Who is Annie without her red dress? Or Eva with out her balcony? It is the charge of the Broadway designer to transport the audience into the world of a show, whether it be Great Depression-era New York City or outside of the Casa Rosada.
In Broadway by Design, BroadwayWorld will be shining a spotlight on the stellar designs of this Broadway season, show by show. Today, we continue the series with Anna Louizos and Alejo Vietti, who acted as scenic and costume designers for Broadway's throw-back romp, HOLIDAY INN.
Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical tells the story of Jim (Bryce Pinkham), who leaves the bright lights of show business behind to settle down on his farmhouse in Connecticut... but life just isn't the same without a bit of song and dance. Jim's luck takes a spectacular turn when he meets Linda (Lora Lee Gayer), a spirited schoolteacher with talent to spare. Together they turn The Farmhouse into a fabulous inn with sensational performances to celebrate each holiday, from Thanksgiving to the Fourth of July. But when Jim's best friend, Ted (Corbin Bleu), tries to lure Linda away to be his new dance partner in Hollywood, will Jim be able to salvage his latest chance at love? Whether you adored the film or are experiencing HOLIDAY INN for the first time, this year-round romance is sure to delight.
Louizos told us of her designs: "The 1940'S movie HOLIDAY INN introduced many seminal songs by Irving Berlin, which have become anthems for our holidays and are inextricably woven into our American culture. Because the movie is black and white we were free to create our own color palette for the stage; I opted for colors, patterns and textures that evoke the period of the 1940's - popular plaids and more de-saturated hues."
"To transform a New England farmhouse to a holiday showplace I wanted the decorations for each holiday to have a home made feel to them as well, as if the locals painted the sets and built the props. We first staged the show at the Goodspeed Opera House, so it seemed a fitting tribute to frame the show with a New England-styled proscenium inspired by that venue. "
"One of my favorite pieces is the patchwork-quilted Inn curtain made of multiple fabrics embroidery- stitched together on a large scale. The scenic artists seemed to have a great time putting it together."
On the challenges, she continues: "The flow of a movie-based musical is always a challenge because often there is little time to get from one scene to the next one. The space at Studio 54 is quite tight, so we had to devise clever ways to store scenery offstage, such as build the inn staircase to telescope and to combine soft painted scenery with hard framed pieces. - a mix of modern and old-fashioned stage craft. Finding interesting ways to transition from outside to inside was also a challenge, but by building the inn setting with strategic scenic components (a fireplace wall, a door, a staircase, windows, etc.) the sum total creates a complete picture and allows for swift transitions."
Vietti explains: "Something I love about about Holiday Inn is the fact that the show has two kinds of costumes. There is the real clothing reflecting the show's time period, and there are the show costumes for the numbers at the Inn and the Clubs.
"The research phase of the process is among of my favorites, and I for Holiday Inn I took inspiration from a wide array of sources. I scoured real pictures, fashion catalogues and magazines from the period (1946/47). I re-watched many Hollywood musicals that I knew would trigger ideas for the show, as I really wanted to get a strong flavor from the old Hollywood movies, but give it a modern sensitivity."
"Logistics was a huge challenge. We had a limited time to make hundreds of costumes, shoes and headpieces for the show. So figuring out who would make every piece, making sure that they would get the materials in time, shipping and coordinating traveling for fittings - it was quite a challenging task. Here's a good example: we used a wool from England - that usually arrives within days after ordering - to make all the men tail suits. Unfortunately, this time around the bolts of fabric ended up detained with customs! They finally arrived to the tailor the very last day he was told us it could arrive in order for him to deliver all the pieces in time. Considering that the costumes for the show were made by talented people all over the country, I am very happy it all went so smoothly!"
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Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway production of HOLIDAY INN, THE NEW Irving Berlin MUSICAL is now extended by two weeks through January 15, 2017. Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical opened on October 6, 2016, on Broadway at Studio 54 (254 West 54th Street). The first-ever Broadway production of HOLIDAY INN is directed by Gordon Greenberg, choreographed by Denis Jones, and stars Tony Award nominee Bryce Pinkham, Lora Lee Gayer, Tony Award nominee Megan Lawrence, Megan Sikora, with Corbin Bleu and Tony Award nominee Lee Wilkof. With music and lyrics byIrving Berlin, Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge's new book is inspired by the Academy Award-winning film, Holiday Inn.