By LARRY MYERS****Bryce Pinkham, Corbin Bleu, Megan Sikora, and Lora Lee Gayer are a delightful quartet welcome in your home and on your CD player. The newly released cast CD of Holiday Inn on Ghostlight Records is sheer joy to experience. Those who carp at recycled Irving Berlin should be silenced and made aware there are new generations to feast on this joyful banquet. Even songs such as “Let’s Start the New Year Right” seem freshly minted. When material is this effective it should be revived frequently. The luscious, merry, hopeful score is evoked with irresistible exuberance.
“It’s a Lovely Day Today,” “Shaking the Blues Away,” and “White Christmas” have never sounded better. “Easter Parade” and “Be Careful, It’s My Heart” are also winning. The show abounds with pizzazz and sass. Memories of Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire “kicking our cares down the stairs” [in the movie musical on which the recent Broadway production was based] are equaled by these gifted performers. The additions of “Blue Skies,” “Cheek to Cheek,” and “Heat Wave” are extra presents under this Christmas tree. If the tree is already overloaded with ornamentation it certainly seems lesser Berlin is much more than many contemporary musical theater attempts. I say: Lean it, prop it up, but play it! There is no doubt we are transported to a holiday inn as idyllic as Brigadoon or Camelot. The magical dramatic world is honored and evoked.
The storyline’s incidents of departing, dancing, and threatening mortgages seem incidental and minor details. Romance and whimsy infiltrates all. “You’re Easy to Dance With” conveys via rhythm and gusto choreographer Denis Jones’ genius and dancing with the stars. No words are needed.
This critic feels an African American cast should tour this show. Think of what Pearl Bailey did for Hello, Dolly! Remember David Merrick’s great, underrated Oh, Kay! The only black cast misfire ever, it seems, was the seemingly amphetamine-induced, rushed Guys and Dolls.
Additional CD Credits
Music Supervision and Direction by Andy Einhorn
Orchestrations by Larry Blank
Vocal and Dance Arrangements: Sam Davis
Additional Dance and Vocal Arrangements: Bruce Pomahac