Roundabout Theatre Company Production at Studio 54
On January 15, 2017, Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical concluded performances at Studio 54 in a Roundabout Theatre Company production. The show had been running since it began previews on September 1, 2016, followed by its official opening night on October 6, 2016. With a book by Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge, and music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, the show was directed by Gordon Greenberg and choreographed by Denis Jones. Based on the 1942 Paramount Pictures film of the same name, Holiday Inn first premiered at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut in the fall of 2014, also directed by Gordon Greenberg. Following positive reviews from the regional production, the decision was made to bring the show to Broadway. Starring Bryce Pinkham as Jim Hardy, the show tells the story of a young man who is tired of the fast-paced city life and decides to settle down in the countryside in Connecticut, only to dream of the show business he left behind. With the help of a schoolteacher named Linda Mason, played by Lora Lee Gayer, the two decide to turn an old farmhouse into an inn that is open on holidays and mounts theatrical performances. When Jim’s old friend Ted from the city develops an interest in Linda, it is almost too late for Jim to realize he loves her, and he must build the courage to tell her how he really feels.
When the show opened, many critics were taken in by its sweet charms. Jeremy Gerard from Deadline found it to be exuberant and shamelessly old-fashioned, loving the sublime Irving Berlin songs. The New York Daily News also gave the musical a rave review, calling it light on its feet and wall-to-wall Irving Berlin. David Cote from Time Out New York was also a fan, enjoying the refurbished musical as a seasonal attraction. However, Charles Isherwood from The New York Times was less enthusiastic, calling this Christmas-themed show a perky but bland adaptation of the film. And some critics, such as Matt Windman from AM New York, were outright displeased by the show; he found it to be a tired remake of a remake of a remake, and resented that it was subtitled “The New Irving Berlin Musical,” when Mr. Berlin passed on in 1989.
A Difficult Sell at the Box Office
Throughout the run for Holiday Inn, it struggled to remain afloat financially. Over the course of the 20 week run, the average percentage reached of the show’s gross potential was 52.84%. With a top ticket price of $160.25 on average, the average paid admission was $80.04, and the audience capacity was filled up to 79.94% on average. In the last week of its run, the show saw a slight boost of $30,691 from the week before, bringing in a final weekly gross of $535,622. The highest gross of the run took place in the week ending December 11, 2016, when the show brought in $783,544, or 80.88% of its gross potential. Meanwhile, the lowest weekly gross in a full eight-performance week took place in the week ending September 25, 2016, when the show brought in $359,828, or 38.02% of its gross potential. Upon closing, Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical played 117 performances, in addition to 38 preview performances. The cast recorded a studio album earlier this month, so fans will be able to enjoy the music of this production through the cast album, when it is released at a date to be announced.