Jax State Lyric Theatre to Present “Holiday Inn”


Students rehearse Irving Berlin musical in Mason Hall.

The Jax State Lyric Theatre troupe will present Irving Berlin’s “Holiday Inn” on Feb. 16-18 and Feb. 23-25 in the recital hall in Mason Hall.

Based on the 1942 film from Universal Pictures starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, the musical book was rewritten by Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge and premiered on Broadway in 2016. While typically viewed as a Christmas show, “Holiday Inn” is truly a year-round romance, celebrating everything from Valentine’s Day to Thanksgiving.

holiday-inn.pngFeaturing some of Irving Berlin’s best-known hits – including “Blue Skies,” “Steppin’ Out with My Baby,” “White Christmas” and “Easter Parade” – the story centers on Jim, who leaves show business for a simpler life, purchasing a farm in Connecticut. When reality sets in, he is reminded of the joy brought through song and dance, and with the help of his friends, the farmhouse is transformed into an inn, open only on holidays and featuring performances to celebrate each. Jim eventually falls in love, but when the bright lights come calling again, which life will he choose?

The JSU production is staged primarily by students along with local talent from Crazy About Dance studio and area community theatres. The cast and crew include Leila Acheson, Carley Brooks, Paulina Dingler, Ethan Duce, Alayna Endicott, Alex Frost, A’shanthe Gathers, Adria Hamilton, Tierra Mishael Harmon, Forrest Hinton, Alex Hosmer, Timmy Jones, Lauren Kilgore, Morgan Langley, Alexa Lusk, Esther Shull, Anna Smith, Kobe Smith, Jamey Smith, Dominque Stephens, Leah Turner, Ramsey Whitney and Amelia Wright.

“In rehearsals, we sought to create an environment of belonging, fun and encouragement,” said Emily Duncan, show director and JSU ROC project development manager. “I was once encouraged to ‘do what you love,’ and like Jim, I was lucky to be surrounded by those who support every crazy idea I sought and seek to do. That’s sort of the beauty of college – you get to try all the things until you discover what makes you the happiest and most fulfilled.”

In addition to Duncan, the show is produced and musically directed by Dr. Shellie Beeman, associate professor of voice. JSU graduate Briar Edwards serves as lead costume designer, Allison Woodward as choreographer and Jessica Gallahar as the show's scenic designer.

Running over two weekends, the Friday and Saturday shows will begin at 7 p.m. and the Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. The run time is two hours, with a 15-minute intermission. The show is appropriate for all ages. Tickets are $10-25.