Visit the ‘Holiday Inn’ at the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre

Published 2:31 pm Wednesday, November 24, 2021

By Pam Johnson

The JRT joyfully presents Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn. This musical, based on the 1942 movie starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, is the perfect holiday love story to kick-start this year’s Christmas season.

Holiday Inn is the story of entertainer Jim Hardy (played by Joe Gumina) who leaves the glitz of show business and his partners Lila and Ted (Diane Taveau, Lucas Schmidt) to follow his dream of a simpler life. He settles down in a foreclosed farmhouse in rural Connecticut. There, he meets Linda Mason (Brittany Whitson), a local schoolteacher and former owner of the homestead, who is on her own complicated life journey. After several failed farming attempts, they collaborate to turn the farmhouse into an inn that’s only open on the holidays.

“This show is basically about trying to be true to yourself,” said Diane Taveau. “Each one of the characters has a chance to become who they really want to be.”

The backdrop of the characters’ stories of self-discovery is the well-known music of Irving Berlin. Each holiday celebrated at the inn is represented by his beloved compositions.

“The most wonderful thing about this show is the music,” said director and cast member Jennifer Ross-Bernhardt. “One of our most beloved Christmas songs, ‘White Christmas,’ originated with the movie. Also, as many people know, Irving Berlin was an immigrant, and he was so thankful for his life in America. Out of that gratitude came one of our most patriotic tunes, ‘Song of Freedom.’ It embodies America and our freedom.”

Holiday Inn is an entertaining journey through Thanksgiving and Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s, Easter and the 4th of July. The inn’s goal is to bring joy to its community, and JRT’s goal is to delight its audience.

“I think now, more than ever, people need joy in their lives,” said choreographer and cast member Jessica Shelton. “This show is fast-paced and so entertaining! The whole family will love the singing and dancing, plus the sweet love story.”

“I can personally promise this show is going to put you in an uplifted mood,” said Brittany Whitson. “Theatre is the best form of escapism in my opinion, and this show’s iconic songs, huge dance numbers, and endearing characters will help you ‘kick your cares’ and enjoy this magical season!”

Holiday Inn is written by Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge, with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin. Rounding out the cast are Josh Baldwin, Bethany Bennett, Dave Bernhardt, Lorianne Carver, Ian Corriere, Liz Dollar, Ryan Gray, Shawn Hale, Mika Hoilman, Kate Hollenbeck, Emush Lamb, Bennett Little, Daniel Matthews, Tristan Matthews, Leahnees Miller, Elliott Price, and Hannah Grace Wallen. Show sponsors are Ballad Health, Ignacy Fonberg, Henry & Flora Joy, Sonia King, John & Bonita Martin, and the East Tennessee Republican Club.
Shows run Thursdays through Sundays, December 2–19. Tickets are $17 general admission, $15 for students and seniors. There is also a special group rate for parties of 15 or more. To purchase tickets, call the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center at 423-753-1010 or go online to jonesboroughtheatre.com. The theatre is located at 125.5 W. Main St., Jonesborough. From the Town of Jonesborough: In accordance with current CDC guidance, masks are kindly requested for all patrons attending our performances.