Nora Dominick ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
With tap dancing, Flying Elvis’, and Tony Danza, Honeymoon in Vegas is a show that brings comedy to a whole new level and has Broadway laughing uncontrollably.
Honeymoon in Vegas tells the story of Jack Singer (Rob McClure), an average guy with a huge fear of commitment. One day, Jack finally finds the courage to propose to his long-time girlfriend, Betsy (Brynn O’Malley). Soon, the couple is headed to Las Vegas for a quick, painless, family-free wedding ceremony. Of course nothing is ever smooth sailing in Las Vegas. Upon their arrival, Tommy Korman (Tony Danza), a smooth talking gambler, spies Betsy and falls head-over-heals in love with her. In order to win her affection, Tommy arranges for Jack to lose a huge game of poker so that he can claim Betsy as his own girlfriend. What happens next is a crazy, hilarious and heartfelt journey to keep the woman you love.
Based on the 1990s cult-classic starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicolas Cage and James Caan, Honeymoon in Vegas is the perfect fit for a hilarious musical comedy. The movie was mostly known for it’s incredible soundtrack that accompanied the film. The soundtrack was filled with covers of classic songs from Elvis Presley, Billy Joel, John Mellencamp and many more. With a movie rooted in the soundtrack it seems like a logical fit for a new Broadway musical.
The sets for the show created by Anna Louizos are stunning. She has transformed the Nederlander Theatre into the Las Vegas strip effortlessly. The projections of Las Vegas that are incorporated into the background transport the audience and create a stunning reality of the sets. Also, Honeymoon in Vegas eliminates the traditional pit and places the orchestra right on stage. They interact with the cast and even have costume changes. It’s a refreshing take on the orchestra set up that should be seen more often.
This remarkable cast has several key players. The hilarious Nancy Opel lends her comedic timing to the role of Bea Singer, Jack’s dead mother who continuously appears to him and reminds him he promised to never get married. She pops out at the most spontaneous moments creating some of the most hilarious scenes. Her comedy with Rob McClure is spectacular. Of course Rob McClure himself is spectacular. He brings sincerity and comedy to the role of Jack as he aims to please his dead mothers wish while still trying to not lose Betsy. McClure’s shining moment actually comes in the first number of Honeymoon in Vegas with the song “I Love Betsy.” He owns the stage as he professes his love for his girlfriend. It’s hard not to fall in love with McClure.
The two heavy hitters in this show are also Brynn O’Malley and Tony Danza. O’Malley brings Betsy to life on stage and she portrays a woman that desperately wants to be with the love of her life. O’Malley has been involved in several Broadway productions including the recent revival of Annie, however, this is her shining moment. She steals the show in moments of drama and comedy. Her big musical numbers “Betsy’s Getting Married” and “Anywhere But Here” show off her incredible vocal range and presence. Broadway should keep an eye on this up and coming talent.
Of course Honeymoon in Vegas would be nothing without the man of the hour, Tony Danza. Danza makes women swoon in this breakout performance. He tap dances, plays the ukulele and sings his way into Betsy’s heart as well as the audience’s. Danza’s love for the musical and the cast shines through every time he steps on stage. His graciously accepts the standing ovation at the end of the show and his love for the musical can be seen through his eyes. Danza is the star power for this show and he allows audiences to feel sorry for Tommy even though he is the sleazy gambler. If anyone else were to play this part, audiences would most likely despise Tommy, but it’s hard to hate Danza and his million-dollar smile.
The cast isn’t the only thing sending people into a frenzy, it’s also the out of this world creative team. Bringing the book/story to life for this production is none other Andrew Bergman, who penned the original screenplay. The incredible music and lyrics come to life through the amazing talent of Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown. Coming off of a triumphant season for his work in The Bridges of Madison County, Brown has created another beautiful and perfect score for Honeymoon in Vegas. Some of Brown’s other works include 13: The Musical and The Last Five Years. The quick-witted lyrics elevate the storylines to new heights and it’s hard to believe this story didn’t have music to begin with. Although certain songs simply feel like filler anthems, such as “Airport Song” and “Higher Love,” the show makes up for it in heart and hilarity.
Honeymoon in Vegas brings a hilarious comedy back to Broadway as the cast dances and sings it’s way into the hearts of audiences night after night.
Honeymoon in Vegas is currently playing at the Nederlander Theatre in NYC. Hurry and grab tickets because this is a show to see!