BWW Review: IRVING BERLIN'S HOLIDAY INN at Paper Mill Playhouse Dazzles-A Must-See for this Season of Good Cheer
"Every now and then, it's good to pause in the pursuit of happiness to just be happy."
By Ted Hanover in Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn
Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn is dazzling audiences at Paper Mill Playhouse. Recently seen on Broadway, this brilliant musical has a book by Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge. The production enjoys superb direction by Mr. Greenberg, inspired choreographies by Denis Jones, vibrant musical direction by Shawn Gough, and the talents of a stellar cast. We attended opening night with an audience that was absolutely thrilled by the performance. Gather your group, get your tickets, and see this festive, charming show that is ideal for the season.
Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn is based on the popular 1942 movie that starred Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. It tells the story of Jim Hardy who leaves his showbiz career in favor of owning a farm in Connecticut. Even with the help of his trusty assistant, Louise, Jim fails at all of his agricultural attempts, and the financial future of his recently acquired property is in jeopardy. To make matters worse, Jim's fiancé, Lila prefers to travel and perform with his best friend, Ted rather than settling down to country living. But once Jim meets the talented elementary school teacher, Linda, there's real hope. With the help of friends, they decide to turn the farm into an inn on popular holidays complete with spectacular song and dance entertainment.
You'll love this cast. They perform the vibrant song and dance numbers without missing a beat and capture the heart and the humor of the story. The cast is led by Paige Faure as Lila Dixon; Jordon Gelber as Danny; Ann Harada as Louise; Jeff Kready as Ted Hanover; Hayley Podschun as Linda Mason; Nicholas Rodriguez as Jim Hardy; with Jian Harrell and Aidan Alberto alternating the role of young Charlie Winslow. They are joined by the multi-talented ensemble that includes Jordan Beall, Gene Biscontini, Colin Bradbury, Tricia Desario, Taylor Fields, Kelly Gleason, Juliane Godfrey, Berklea Going, Joshua Israel, Julie Kavanagh, Mallory Nolting, Clifton Samuels, JT Teeling, Karl Skylar Urban, Amy Van Norstrand, Scarlett Walker, Travis Ward-Osborne, and John T. Wolfe.
The musical numbers shine as bright as your holiday lights. With over 20 of Irving Berlin's classic masterpieces, it's hard to pick a favorite. Audiences will enjoy well known songs like "Blue Skies" by Jim and Ensemble; "Heat Wave" with Ted Lila, and Ensemble; "White Christmas" with Jim and Linda; ""Happy Holiday" with Jim, Louise, and Ensemble; "Cheek to Cheek" with Ted, Linda, and Ensemble; "Easter Parade" with Ted, Linda, Jim, and Ensemble; and "White Christmas" with Linda and Jim. Along with these beloved gems, the production beautifully showcases Berlin's lesser known songs that include "It's a Lovely Day Today" by Jim, Lila and Louise; "Nothing More to Say" with Linda; Be Careful, It's My Heart" with Jim Linda and Ted" and "Song of Freedom" with Linda, Ted, and Jim. You'll be tapping your toes in time to the music while you watch the extraordinary numbers unfold on stage.
The Design Team has done a fabulous job of bringing the production to the Millburn stage with magnificent set design and costuming. Their creative talents make each and every scene memorable. They include scenic design by Anna Louizos; costume design by Alejo Vietti; lighting design by Jeff Croiter; sound design by Matt Kraus; and hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe.
Orchestrations are by Larry Blank; Vocal and Dance Arrangements are by Sam Davis; Additional Dance and Vocal Arrangements are by Bruce Pomahac; Casting is by Telsey + Company, Laura Wade. The Production Stage Manage is Victoria Navarro; and Press Representative is Richard Hillman Public Relations.
Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn is a feel good show that is a must-see production for people of all ages. It is everything a musical should be with great music, outstanding dancing, and a storyline that captivates. We applaud Producing Artistic Director, Mark Hoebee and the entire Paper Mill Playhouse team for making it available to metro area audiences this holiday season.
Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn will be on stage at Paper Mill Playhouse (22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ) through December 30, 2018. The show runs for 2 hours and 30 minutes with one intermission. Tickets are available online at https://papermill.org/, by calling 973.376.4343, and by visiting the Playhouse box Office at 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ 07041. The major sponsor is Bank America and the Playhouse's 2018/2019 80th Anniversary Season is sponsored by Investors Bank.
Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia and Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade