Celebrate the Seasons and the Music of Irving Berlin with Holiday Inn at the Walnut Street Theatre

photo by Mark Garvin

Welcome to the 210th (!!) season at the Walnut Street Theatre. It begins with Holiday Inn, running now until October 21st- when fall will officially be here and the weather will (hopefully) be crisp. Holiday Inn takes us through a year of seasons, celebrations, and a large amount of costume changes!

The audience is first introduced to Holiday Inn’s leading man Jim Hardy (played by Ben Dibble) in the summer of 1946. He’s part of a song and dance trio which includes his buddy Ted Hanover (Jacob Tischler) and his fiance Lila Dixon (Bonnie Kelly). Jim decides to retire from show biz just as Ted and Lila head out on the road to finish up the summer with a handful of gigs. Meanwhile, Jim heads to Connecticut where he purchased an old farm and Lila promises to meet him there soon. While waiting for Lila’s arrival, Jim befriends a comedic side-kick, Louise (Mary Martello) and the girl-next-door who used to live at said farm, Linda Mason (played by Cary Michelle Miller). I bet you know how this will end up, don’t you? But it’s the predictability of Holiday Inn that makes it so lovable. The choreography (with very impressive tap dancing) will make you swoon, as will the show’s love story. 

Holiday Inn is warm and inviting. You actually have heard some of these songs before and maybe you even saw the movie that the show is loosely based on- Irving Berlin’s 1942 hit of the same name starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. And you know the song “White Christmas”, right? Of course you do. It was written for that movie. You’ll hear it in the musical version along with many other Irving Berlin songs like “Easter Parade”, “Blue Skies”, and “Steppin’ Out With My Baby”.

Even though it opened (and closed) very recently on Broadway, the show itself seems like it has been on stage for decades. It feels like a Broadway standard; timeless and classic. Holiday Inn the musical will remind audience members of Irving Berlin’s many accomplishments. The composer/lyricist has been considered one of America’s greatest songwriters. The show and Irving Berlin’s music are perfect for kicking off this season at Walnut Street Theatre, or anywhere really. Holiday Inn is light and funny with familiar songs and a simple plot line.

Whether you’re a theatre novice or theatre junkie, this one resonates with audiences all across the board. Go see it now for a heavy dose of nostalgia, fun, and to get you in the mood for the…it will be here before you know it…holiday season.

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