Stage Adaptation Of 1942 Universal Film With Irving Berlin Tunes

Hartford Courant

Goodspeed Opera House will feature its first world premiere in years as part of its main stage season with a stage adaptation of the 1942 film "Holiday Inn."

The film, which stars Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, will be presented in the fall of 2014 and comes pre-loaded with Irving Berlin hits, including "White Christmas" and "Easter Parade."

The show should not to be confused with the recent stage adaptation of "White Christmas," based on the 1954 film which stars Crosby and Danny Kaye and which also features a Berlin score, including the title tune.

The Paramount film is now owned by Universal Pictures, whose theater division, Universal Stage Productions, is involved in the Goodspeed production.

The show will be directed by Gordon Greenberg (Goodspeed's "Pirates," "Happy Days," and at its second theater, "The Baker's Wife" and "The Fabulous Lipitones"). The "Holiday Inn" stage adaptation is by Greenberg and film and TV writer/producer Chad Hodge ("The Playboy Club," the upcoming FOX series "Wayward Pines.").

Universal Stage Productions was involved in Broadway's "Wicked," "Billy Elliot," "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" and "Bring It On!" 

Other songs from the holiday-centric film include "Easter Parade," "I'll Capture Your Heart Singing," "You're Easy To Dance With," "Happy Holiday," "Let's Start the New Year Right," "Come to the Holiday Inn," "I Can't Tell a Lie" and "Be Careful, It's My Heart."

The number "Abraham" celebrating Lincoln's birthday will not be sung in blackface as Crosby did in the film, says a theater spokesperson.

Film writer Leonard Maltin describes "Holiday Inn" as "an entertaining musical built on paper thin plot about a romantic triangle and the establishment of a country inn that's open only on holidays. Good fun and snappier than partial remake, 'White Christmas.' " 

Theater footnote: Playwright Elmer Rice ("The Adding Machine," "Street Scene") adapted Claude Binyon's original screenplay. Also contributing to the film script were Ben Holmes, Bertt Lawrence, Zion Myers and Francis Swann. The idea for the story came from Berlin. The film was directed by Mark Sandrich.

It will mark the first world premiere at the East Haddam theater in years. Goodspeed presented the world premiere of "Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas" as an off-season production in 2008 and 2009.

The last new musicals on its main stage season was in the '90s "Mirette" and "Houdini" and in 2001 "Lucky in the Rain."

Prior to that show the theater was known for premiers of new shows that included "Man of La Mancha," "Shenendoah" and "Annie." New shows are now usually presented at its second stage, the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester.

"Holiday Inn" will play at the East Haddam theater Sept. 19 to Nov. 30.

The 2014 season will open with the Richard Ader-Jerry Ross musical "Damn Yankees," directed by by Daniel Goildstein (Goodspeed's "Hello, Dolly!"  and the upcoming workshop production of "Snapshots" at its Norma Terris Theatre).  The book of the show is by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop.

The revival of the 1955 musical -- about an avid baseball fan's Faustian deal with the Devil in order for his favorite team to beat the invincible New York Yankees for the pennant -- will use a slightly altered book by Joe DiPietro (Broadway's "Memphis," off-Broadway's "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change"), which substitutes the Boston Red Sox for the Washington Senators, the opposing team in the original version. The DiPietro version was done at several New England theaters including the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, Mass. and the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine.

The show will run April 11 to June 21.

The summer show will be a revival of "Fiddler on the Roof," which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year. (Goodspeed Opera House will be in its 51st year in 2014.)

Directing the show will be Rob Ruggiero (Goodspeed's "The Most Happy Fella,""Show Boat," "Carousel").

The show has a score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick and a book by Joseph Stein, based on the stoiries of Sholem Aleichem. The production will run June 27 to Sept. 7.

Subscriptions are now on sale. Single tickets will be available in February.

Information: 860-873-8668 and




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