Only 28 years old, Holiday Inn had been out for nearly 50 years by the time Corbin Bleu was born. But that didn’t stop the former High School Musical star and Dancing With the Stars contestant from stepping into the role made famous by Fred Astaire in Broadway’s musical adaptation of the film.
In fact, Bleu brought a modern flair to the character of Ted Hanover, a professional dancer who loses his partner to an oil tycoon and later sets his sights on friend Jim Hardy’s holidays-only hotel performer and love interest, Linda Mason. In one particular number from the Broadway show, “Let's Say It With Firecrackers,” Bleu performs a solo tap dance with the accompaniment of firecrackers with so much pizazz and style that even Astaire would have been impressed.
“We were really giving a new birth to the new number,” Bleu tells ET about working with choreographer Denis Jones to morph it for his body. It was also one that the actor jokes he hated to perform as much as he loved it. “It was a beast of a number” that included pyrotechnics that always didn’t work during rehearsals, he says.
Now that a recording of Holiday Inn: The New Irving Berlin Musicalis streaming on the recently revamped and redesign BroadwayHD app, Bleu hopes that those who couldn’t make it to New York for the limited run of the production can enjoy it from the comfort of their home. “I definitely think this is something that people can add to their holiday viewing tradition.”
With that said, Bleu shares his favorite modern, holiday classics with ET.
“Gremlins is such a perfect mesh of campy and fun -- enough for Christmas while also having that dark, twisted side.”
“It's hard to say no to Will Ferrell. He just killed it in that movie. It's just so f**king funny!”
3. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
I remember going to the movie theater -- I was 11 when that movie came out -- and I remember laughing out loud in the theater. Jim Carrey is a comedian who I feel like we all have a soft spot in our heart for him. When you look at some of his older films, like Liar Liar and Dumb and Dumber, they always makes us laugh. He knows how to commit and be ridiculous and still somehow not make you roll your eyes. Whenever I watch him in that film, it makes me smile.”
2. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
“I grew up in New York, so I grew up watching Home Alone 2 a lot more than the first. It just captures the vibe of New York. It had Tim Curry in it -- he is such an incredible villain in the film. I just felt like there's a little bit more of a magic in Home Alone 2. I talked about this list with my wife and I mentioned Home Alone and she asked, ‘Which one?’ I was like, ‘Lost in New York,’ and she was like, ‘OK, good.’”
1. Tie: The Nightmare Before Christmas and Hey Arnold: Arnold’s Christmas
“I grew up on Rugrats and Hey Arnold! and all of those Nick shows and they never pandered to kids. Arnold's Christmas was one that because I loved those shows growing up, I thought it was a beautiful moment for those characters. You learn over the course of the show how much Helga has a crush on Arnold and you see how brash and selfish she can be. But in the spirit of Christmas, you see how selfless she becomes and at the end, she looks up at the camera and goes, ‘Merry Christmas, Arnold.’ When I still watch it now, it makes me well up.
“The Nightmare Before Christmas is a nice one-two punch for me because I get to watch that for Halloween and Christmas. Tim Burton is still one of the best. It's also one that's easy to watch. I don't get sick of it.”
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