If you close your eyes during the terrific open-hearted and sarcastic “Holiday Inn” musical, now at Music Guild in Moline, there’s hardly any way to tell that the incredibly talented and dedicated volunteer performers are singing with masks in full swing. tissue. (Accurate diction helps and these have to be powerful body microphones, thank goodness.)
As we approach our third year of the never-ending Covid pandemic, the Prospect Park Theater continues to adhere to strict Illinois regulations that require anyone over the age of 2 to wear face masks in public places. interiors.
This makes the theater safer and more secure for everyone and allows the Guild to inspirely prove that the show can and should go on.
But don’t close your eyes too often during the hugely entertaining show – filled with Irving Berlin chestnuts and lesser-known acts that are just as delicious – because it’s a real feast for the eyes and ears. The old-fashioned musical, with an often contemporary twist, is based on the classic 1942 film that gave the world “White Christmas”, and only lasts one weekend, until Sunday at 1584 34e Avenue, Moline.
It’s incredibly directed by novice director Luke Vermeire, who can be said to be passionate about the theater and leads the action with clarity, emotion and humor, in tandem with a marvelous and dazzling choreography by Shana Kulhavy.
In “Holiday Inn”, when singer-songwriter Jim Hardy tires of showbiz, he shocks his best friend Ted and his fiancee Lila by leaving behind the bright lights of Broadway, for a quiet and simple life on a farm. of Connecticut. At first he greets his new life with enthusiasm, but, just when he begins to think that farm life isn’t all it’s meant to be, he meets Linda Mason, a brave schoolteacher who owns immense talent and big dreams.
Together, they are bringing Mason Farm to life by transforming it into the Holiday Inn, a lively venue for festive shows celebrating most of the milestone days on the calendar. However, when Ted shows up ready to take Linda to Hollywood, will Jim lose his best chance at happiness?
It is packed with dance numbers and a score filled with beloved Berlin hits like “Blue Skies”, “Cheek to Cheek”, “Steppin ‘Out With My Baby”, “Easter Parade”, “Heat Wave”, “Shaking the Blues Away “and of course” White Christmas “, with an immensely large tree and spectacularly adorned with lights and ornaments.
“Holiday Inn” was performed at Circa ’21, Rock Island, in the summer of 2019, and the new release features Tyler Henning as Jim, Lauren VanSpeybroeck as Linda, Daniel Williams as Ted, Susie Carsell-Schaechter as Lila, Mark Kulhavy like Danny, Peyton Beck as Charlie and Jess Fah as Louise. They are all strong and perfect in their parts.
The visual splendor is led by decorator Andy Sederquist and costume designer Joe Thomas, and my god they did their job with incredible professionalism and panache. I was particularly impressed with the interior of the fictional Midville farmhouse, which is spacious and stylish, with two large windows and three sophisticated light fixtures. This decor is inventively doubled at the end of the show, with two sloping walls for the Hollywood film set.
Country life (including a beautiful painted and rustic backdrop) contrasts sharply with the city life of showbiz, in many scintillating nightclub scenes.
There are countless costume changes in “Holiday Inn”, and the outfits are so colorful and precise that they are reminiscent of each of the vacations the scene is set in. The six-member all-female dance ensemble is responsible for most of the costume changes.
The excellent Megan Winchelle, Stephanie Truitt, Emily Brooks, Faith Hardacre-Meuser, Leslie Aboud, Izzy Bartscher, Lillian Fincher and Juliet Hunt are super cute and exuberant in everything from Thanksgiving pilgrims to women in weird hats at Easter and crisp sailors. . like dancers (in white and navy blue) on July 4th.
There are many extraordinary dance numbers skillfully, elegantly managed by the actors, and the ensemble and pair dancers are equally alluring.
The tall, dashing Daniel Williams as Ted in particular is carefree and wonderfully light on his feet, and reminded me of Ray Bolger (who was the scarecrow in “Wizard of Oz”). Williams (son of the late great director Bob Williams) really steals the show in the song Independence Day, “Let’s Say It With Firecrackers”, in which he apparently throws firecrackers that explode on stage (sound only).
In ‘Shakin’ The Blues Away ‘upbeat and upbeat, the entire cast shows remarkable energy, and the women do both dances while wearing crowns around their waists and jumping. the fast rope.
Henning and VanSpeybroeck are genuinely successful and likable as romantic protagonists and it is always nice to accompany them on their adventurous adventure. VanSpeybroeck is very moving in the poignant lamentation of the first act “Nothing More to Say”. Jim and Linda’s first rendition of “White Christmas” is simply magical, including some wonderful harmonies towards the end.
Carsell-Schaechter and Fah play their fiery and independent roles as Lila and Louise, respectively. All of the main female roles, down to brave little Charlie (Charlotte), are tough, resilient characters who stand up for whatever they want and what they do. Fah as the keeper of the farm has the most modern role – sarcastic, playfully boisterous, wise and supportive.
While “Holiday Inn” certainly doesn’t sing on every major holiday (nothing for St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, or Halloween), there is an airy vibe, flipping through the calendar, bringing us back to Christmas. , natch, and an inevitable glorious wedding (the biggest party of all). A brief black and white film clip (created by the actors to evoke the 1940s era) is surprisingly faithful to the period. It is a real gift, wrapped with great care, to be cherished now and forever. The “Holiday Inn” performances will take place at 7:30 pm on December 2 (tonight), at 3 pm and 4 pm, and at 2 pm on Sunday, December 5. Tickets are $ 16 for adults and $ 11 for children, available at 309-762-6610 or qcmusicguild.com.