Go behind the curtain of Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn with actors Megan Sikora, Corbin Bleu, Danny Rutigliano and Lora Lee Gayer. Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn comes to PBS Friday, November 24 at 9 p.m. (check local listings), continuing the GREAT PERFORMANCES marathon within the Broadway’s Best lineup on PBS.
I play Jim Hardy in Holiday Inn, the musical.
And Jim is a song and dance man who has done a three person act for a number of years.
(singing): I''ll capture her heart singing.
(singing): Just wait until she gets a load of my dancing.
Lila is a part of the trio.
(singing): If you could dance instead of sing, I''d learn to love you somehow.
She has stars in her eyes and wants to join the glitter and glamor of Hollywood, and uh, right alongside her is my character Ted Hanover that will stop at nothing to become famous.
We''ll need new routines!
And a spotlight devoted to me!
My character is Danny Reed, who is the agent for the uh, trio of performers.
One of its main members, uh, wants to leave the business.
I bought a farm, with a farmhouse, in Connecticut!
No farming skills to speak of Hang on a second, this is a perfectly respectable summer squash.
Except it''s a tomato.
It''s there that he meets the local schoolteacher, Linda.
She kind of has let the performer side of herself go, and then Jim Hardy comes along.
(voiceover): Basically, he comes up with this hair-brained scheme to turn the farmhouse into a performance venue where guests can come and stay and then see a show, uh, that he writes, and his performer friends come up and perform on different holidays. -And together they create Holiday Irving Berlin concocted this idea so that he could write a song for every holiday.
(singing): Happy holiday, happy holiday, while the merry bells keep ringing, may your every wish come true.
I think Irving Berlin''s music is just classic storytelling.
He had an incredible knack for writing the most hummable songs.
They have these great melodies.
And you can''t not want to dance to them.
(singing): I''ve got plenty to be thankful for.
He wrote very honest, truthful, simple, clear lyrics.
He writes for the human voice, I mean, singing his songs there''s an ease to it.
(singing): But it doesn''t thrill me half as much, as dancing cheek to cheek.
Irving Berlin wrote God Bless America.
And he wrote White Christmas.
He was a child of Russian-Jewish immigrants who grew up in New York.
How more American can you get, in a way.
He Desperately wanted to be a musician, so he went and popped his head into, uh, different performance venues anywhere he could find in New York, and he sort of learned by being around musicians, and famously only played on the black keys on a piano.
What''s so wonderful about this show and what the creators have done is they''ve taken this wonderful film from the forties that had a few Irving Berlin songs in it, and they''ve added so much more.
[As they were added and as they were going, I was like, I know that song, oh wait I know that song too!
With all due respect to my, my fellow co-stars, Irving Berlin is the star of this show.
(singing): I''m dreaming of a white Christmas.
Singing White Christmas every night is magical.
Butterflies show up for me when, when it''s time to sing White Christmas because it''s such an iconic song.
I think it just encapsulates the feeling of that time of year.
(singing): When the treetops glisten, and children listen It scares me but I''ve also learned to make it my own, and love that I get to do it on a Broadway stage with Laura Lee Gayer by my side.
(singing): And may all your Christmases be white.
As soon as I found out that I was gonna be a part of this project and that I actually would be tapping eight times a week on a Broadway stage, it was hard to believe.
(singing): That is why I''m always right on the beat.
CB: There''s so much history of tap on the Broadway stage.
As time has gone on, you don''t see it as much.
And so I, I feel very, very privileged and very grateful to, to be able to be a part of a project that, that glorifies tap as much as it does.
(singing): When I go into my dance.
My, my favorite number to do is, is Firecrackers, and it is a workhorse of a number.
And it begins with me, alone, on the stage, and I pretty much do a whole number, and then Laura Lee comes out and we do an entire section, and then the entire ensemble comes out and we do a whole section, and every single night working up to it, I''m always going, okay, here we go, here we go, just keep breathing.
But as soon as it starts, there''s nothing like it, it''s I, I, I live for it.
(singing): Can say!
It''s a sort of classic, uh, Broadway musical, big tap numbers-- There's lots of singing, lot's of dance.
Intimate ballads, an orchestra playing live.
You know that most of the jokes are gonna land on the third beat.
Between Irving Berlin''s music and Denis Jones'' choreography, and this timeless story, it''s everything you could possibly want of classical musical theater.
It really is such a positive, joyous, happy show.
And I think you''ll hopefully be able to feel the joy that we, the actors, feel doing it.
It''s just a hell of a lot of fun.
(singing): Oh, proving that there''s a way, to chase your cares away, if you would lose your weary blues, shake em away!
Shake em away!