In Holiday Inn, the new musical adaptation of the 1942 film starring Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby, the Broadway ensemble dances tap while simultaneously jumping rope with giants strands of garland with popcorn and cranberries.
The Christmas-themed number "Shaking the Blues Away" of the Roundabout Theatre Company production couldn't be properly practiced until the cast settled into Studio 54 because their rehearsal space's ceiling lights were hung too low, says choreographer Denis Jones. "The combination of the tap sounds with the plastic and wooden beads hitting the deck, those two rhythms are exciting," he explained, adding that there are no spare ropes backstage. "We were breaking some beads the other night - hopefully we take care of them!"
The song regularly triggers lengthy applause from the audience. Bryce Pinkham added, "I love that number not only because it's wonderful, but also because our ensemble really gets to shine and then receive the praise they deserve."
Read more: 'Holiday Inn': Theater Review
The Independence Day showstopper "Let's Say It With Firecrackers/Song of Freedom" sees Bleu recreating Astaire's explosive tap-dancing number with the help of tiny LED lights and puffs of dust sparking up from the stage.
"To be able to do that number is my favorite moment onstage," said Bleu. Pinkham them told his co-star, "Fred Astaire, somewhere, is looking down and tapping along in utter joy as you do that one every night. It's such a talent we don't see too often anymore, and now that nostalgic joy can be celebrated."
Holiday Inn runs through Jan. 15 at Studio 54.