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"Honeymoon in Vegas" at the Nederlander Theatre Stars Tony Danza, Rob McClure, and Brynn O’Malley
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"Honeymoon in Vegas" at the Nederlander Theatre Stars Tony Danza, Rob McClure, and Brynn O’Malley

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Nederlander Theatre
Under the Direction of
James M. Nederlander and James L. Nederlander

Dena Hammerstein, Roy Gabay, Rich Entertainment Group
et al. and
Paper Mill Playhouse

Honeymoon in Vegas
(Honeymoon in Vegas Website)

Book by Andrew Bergman
Music & Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown

Based on the Castle Rock Entertainment Motion Picture

At the
Nederlander Theatre
208 West 41st Street
New York, NY

Rob McClure, Brynn O’Malley
Tony Danza

David Josefsberg, Nancy Opel, Matthew Saldivar

And an ensemble of singers/actors/dancers

Directed by Gary Griffin
Choreography by Denis Jones
Music Director: Tom Murray
Orchestrations by Don Sebesky, Larry Blank
Jason Robert Brown, Charlie Rosen
Music Coordinator: Michael Keller

Scenic & Projection Design: Anna Louizos
Costume Design: Brian Hemesath
Lighting Design: Howell Binkley
Sound Design: Scott Lehrer & Drew Levy
Hair & Wig Design: Charles G. LaPointe
Props: Kathy Fabian/Propstar
Casting: Telsey + Company/Justin Huff, CSA
Flight Effects: Flying by Foy
Production Stage Manager: Matthew DiCarlo
General Manager: Rob Gabay Productions
Company Manager: Chris Aniello
Press Representative: Boneau/Bryan-Brown
Advertising & Marketing: SPOTCO
Production Management: Aurora Productions
Assoc. Producer: Davis Goldyn

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 21, 2015

It’s so good to hear an audience laugh wholeheartedly and cheer a star, who takes a turn in tap shoes, with a big band of swell new tunes bubbling directly from the stage. Honeymoon in Vegas, now at the Nederlander Theatre, where Newsies enjoyed a long run, should have its own record-breaking run, I hope, because a show like this happens only too rarely. Rob McClure, whom I praised on these pages in his star role as Chaplin, Brynn O’Malley, who starred in Wicked and Annie, and the estimable Tony Danza, of The Producers and television fame, with the wild and wanton help of Nancy Opel, whom I loved long ago in Polish Joke and Fiddler on the Roof, bring the house down. The book, by Andrew Bergman, is based on his screenplay for the 1992 film, with its own star-studded cast (Anne Bancroft played the mother, Ms. Opel’s theater role).

The storyline includes Jack Singer (Mr. McClure) and his girlfriend, Betsy Nolan (Ms. O’Malley), romancing in Brooklyn, but never getting to the engagement, because of Jack’s promise to his dead, overbearing mother, Bea (Ms. Opel), that he’ll only love her, for the rest of his life, as nobody could ever love him, like his mother. Finally Jack takes a leap and gets on a plane to Las Vegas for a quickie wedding, where showgirls, loan-sharks, and a glitzy band fill the fancy hotel Tommy Korman (Mr. Danza) never met a poker game that he didn’t love to fix, and, with his assistant, Johnny Sandwich (Matthew Saldivar), they create a minute-to-minute riot of campy bedlam. Tommy sees the youthful, Betsy sunning, and she immediately evokes his deceased “wife”, Donna, an offstage character in Tommy’s fictional plot to steal Betsy from Jack. Additional characters fill the musical with outsized, vaudevillian wit, and special flying effects add manic antics. There are scenes in Hawaii, too, at Tommy’s lavish getaway, but to list details would be to destroy the surprises. Throughout, it should be noted, Tom Murray’s Orchestra shifts musical moods and motifs with expert swing and tantalizing, tropical tempos. This show has something for everyone, and Jason Robert Brown’s music and lyrics are sensational. His compositions for The Bridges of Madison County brought him well deserved fame.

Some of the songs, “When You Say Vegas” (sung by Tommy and gang), “Friki-Friki” (sung by Jack and a Hawaiian seductress), and “Higher Love” (one of the surprises), beg a second visit to this show. Every character acts and sings with persuasive emotion and clear, tonal vocals. Mr. Danza sings with a smoky hint of Sinatra (Tommy stays in the Sinatra Suite in Vegas). Mr. McClure and Ms. O’Malley sing like Broadway babes. Ms. Opel never, ever disappoints, and three breakout actors (Matthew Saldivar, David Josefsberg and Catherine Ricafort) are artists to watch. Gary Griffin has directed with superb timing, as some scenes are languid, some are flashy, and some just over the top (literally). Denis Jones’ choreography fits the very busy stage nicely, as the set is movable and rapidly shifting, and the band is often on view. Anna Louizos’ scenery and projections move so quickly from Brooklyn, to Las Vegas, to Hawaii, and back to Vegas, with varying characters and action on each set, that she deserves immediate kudos. Brian Hemesath’s costumes, especially for the hilarious surprise scenes, need to be seen, as descriptions would spoil the unexpected comic interludes. Charles G. LaPointe’s hair and wigs are critical to the costuming, and the props people went out of their way for fantastic details. Sound and lighting work exquisitely.

This production of the new Honeymoon in Vegas is a tightly-tuned ensemble, in constant, synchronized motion. Do not miss this show. Kudos to all.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at