Paper Mill Playhouse begins its 75th season with a hit that packs a punch, laughs and a couple of lovers. Honeymoon in Vegas starred Sarah Jessica Parker and Nicolas Cage in the 1992 movie that did not break the box office in the least. Now the musical about Vegas, Love and taking risks has been adapted into a fun, upbeat musical. This version of the movie stars Who’s the Boss? Tony Danza. Danza plays the role of Tommy Gorman. The role of Jack is played by Chaplin’s Rob McClure and his beautiful bride to be is played by Paper Mill’s own, Brynn O’Malley. Also running circles around this production is Johnny Sandwich (the one who didn’t think focaccia worked as well) was played by David Josefsberg.
The story follows Jack Singer who promises his mother (played by Nancy Opel) on her death bed, that he would not get married. This promise is soon turned on its side when his longtime girlfriend Betsy (Brynn O’Malley) is pleading with Jack to get married. While this is unravelling Tommy and Johnny are in cahoots trying to make sure Tommy gets the girl. The story is one that is all too familiar, Shrek (Lord Farquaad wants Fiona), Taming of the Shrew, Wicked (Fiyero, Galinda and Elphaba) the list goes on. The musical as a whole reminds me of the feeling you get from music in Grease. There is a swing and fluidity that is present throughout the entire production.
While the cast is stellar and all too talented to not be playing on Broadway, the creative team also hit a home run. Although the front curtain is a mere scrim with a projected logo on the facade, the musical hits every technical point a theatre buff could imagine. The set is ingeniously designed to let many locations be shown in a matter of minutes with little to no transition time. Although the amount of scenery can be overwhelming at times, it is necessary in order to properly show the different locations. Additionally, the use of stage automation is used heavily throughout this production. From people exiting through the floor, to a full size car arriving on stage, some of the sequences seemed a little excessive. Overall the creative team scored with the scenic and lighting design. Also, if you pay attention, you may even see one of the characters flying.
Honeymoon in Vegas is Broadway bound, as expressed in several media outlets, but the musical needs some work before hitting the Great White Way. The show as a whole was verging on lengthy, the running time which runs roughly 2 hours and 38 minutes plus a 15 minute intermission is on the fence of running 3 hours. This is not a necessary running time and will not be able to keep New York attention spans satisfied if this is not altered.
The score was penned by Broadway vet, Jason Robert Brown whose credits boast musicals such as Shrek, 13!, Parade, The Bridges of Madison County and The Last Five Years. Book: Andrew Bergman, Music Director: Tom Murray, Choreographer: Dennis Jones, Director: Gary Griffin, Lighting: Paul Miller, Sound: Randy Hansen, Scenic Design: Anna Louizos, Orchestrations: Don Sebesky, Casting: Telsey & Company.
Honeymoon in Vegas is playing at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ through October 27th, come witness the hilarious love story for yourself!