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The 5th Avenue Theatre's 'Holiday Inn' Serves Up Plenty of Charm

You'll be humming Irving Berlin classics all the way home

Published on: December 05, 2017

Holiday Inn cast
The cast of "Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn." Photo credit: Mark Kitaoka

The bottom line

"Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn" is a musical based on the Oscar-winning 1946 film starring Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby. The show is full of comedy, heartwarming moments and, of course, fabulous singing and dancing. "Holiday Inn" is appropriate for ages 4 and up and is playing at The 5th Avenue Theatre in downtown Seattle through Dec. 31.

Stage notes

Main character Jim is part of a performing trio along with fellow actors Lila and Ted. When Jim decides to buy a farm in Connecticut and leave show biz behind, Lila, who is Jim’s fiancée, chooses to keep performing... without him. Jim moves to the farm and is helped out by housekeeper Louise as well as his new friend and love interest Linda.

By the time Jim realizes he isn’t cut out to be a farmer, he is behind on the mortgage and needs a miracle. His old theater friends join him to turn his house into a “Holiday Inn” with dinner theater performances based on holidays throughout the year. 

In The 5th Avenue Theatre's production, the set and costuming for "Holiday Inn" are dazzling. From the hilarious gigantic Easter bonnets to the snow falling behind the windows of the inn as Jim (Eric Ankrim) sings “White Christmas,” the show is a visual treat.

The cast is full of talent, but main characters played by Eric Ankrim, Sarah Rose Davis, Matt Owen and Taryn Darr bring the musical to life with expert singing and dancing. Broadway, film and TV star (and daughter of Judy Garland) Lorna Luft steals the show as Louise with impeccable comedic timing.

The show features 20 Irving Berlin songs, including classics such as “White Christmas,” “Blue Skies” and “Steppin’ Out With My Baby.” I highly recommend seeing "Holiday Inn" with your family for the perfect break from the holiday rush. My kids, daughters ages 18 and 14 and my 10-year-old son, all thoroughly enjoyed it. We found ourselves smiling and singing songs from the show all the way home.  

Parents should know

  • Children under age 4 (including babes in arms) will not be admitted.
  • While the show is appropriate for ages 4 and up, at two and a half hours long plus a 20-minute intermission, it is likely too long for kids under 7 or 8.
  • You can give your babysitter the number for Coat Check (206-625-1294) in case of emergency. Be sure to also give the sitter your seat and aisle number to make it easy for staff to find you, if needed.
  • There is no inappropriate language in the show. In one scene, a character gets drunk and is punched by another character. There are a few double entendres, but it's unlikely younger kids would get these. Read more in the theater's content advisory.
  • You may have seen the original 1946 movie, which featured a number with actors performing in blackface, but thankfully, there is no blackface in this version.

If you go ...

Where: The 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave., Seattle

Tickets: $34–$140. Buy tickets at the box office or online

Parking: There are four parking garages, all within a short walk of the theater.


  • Be sure and arrive at the theater at least 15 minutes before show time. Traffic is very thick in the area, especially in the holiday season, so allow plenty of time to get to the theater.
  • Bottled water, coffee, soda and alcoholic beverages are available in the lobby. During intermission, there was also a staff member walking through the theater selling bottled water ($3, cash only). 
  • There is always a long line at the ladies bathroom near the front door but there's an additional, less used restroom in the northwest corner of the mezzanine level upstairs. 
  • Boosters are available at the coat check and are free.
  • Coat and bag check are free.
  • You can rent binoculars for $5.

Nearby fun:

While you're in downtown Seattle, take part in seasonal holiday fun such as the Gingerbread Village, Pacific Place's nightly snow show or the Westlake Park holiday carousel. Plan a budget- and kid-friendly dinner with our guide to holiday happy hours for families.

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