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PREVIEW: Chanhassen Dinner Theatres to Open Holiday Inn

A promotional image for Chanhassen Dinner Theatres’ production of Holiday Inn, which opens this Friday in Chanhassen, MN.

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres is going to open a Holiday Inn. Wait, that’s not quite right – CDT is opening Holiday Inn, a stage adaptation of the beloved 1942 holiday film of the same name. Holiday Inn began previews last week, and formally opens this Friday in Chanhassen, MN with the company’s customary aplomb.

If you didn’t know that there was a stage musical version of Holiday Inn, don’t feel bad. Up until a few years ago, there wasn’t, before Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut decided to bring it to their stage. (If you don’t know about Goodspeed, you might feel a little bad after learning that this is where Annie and Man of La Mancha were first unveiled. If not, well, tomorrow’s only a day away and you can live the impossible dream of learning all this musical theatre trivia.)

CDT Artistic Director Michael Brindisi has a knack for programming musicals that touch on the cares hanging heavy on audience hearts. The recently closed Newsies run was incredibly timely, grabbing people at a moment where standing up to power and protesting abuses of authority – and the scrappy underdog winning – was exactly what people wanted to see. Holiday Inn has a tad less rioting and protesting, with more familiar songs that have become part of the Great American Songbook. It’s hard not to hear the parade of hits in its soundtrack – “Blue Skies”, “Heat Waves”, “It’s a Lovely Day Today”, “Cheek to Cheek”, and of course “White Christmas” – and not leave humming the tunes.

This production stars Michael Gruber, Ann Michels, Tony Vierling, Jessica Frederickson, Michelle Barber, and Scott Blackburn. It features work by a design team including Nayna Ramey (scenic design), Rich Hamson (costumes), Sue Ellen Berger (lighting), Russ Haynes (sound), and Paul Bigot (hair/makeup).

Twin Cities Arts Reader