Honeymoon in Vegas (musical)
|Honeymoon in Vegas|
Broadway Playbill cover
|Music||Jason Robert Brown|
|Lyrics||Jason Robert Brown|
|Basis||1992 film Honeymoon in Vegas|
|Productions||2013 Paper Mill Playhouse |
2017 West End Concert
Honeymoon in Vegas is a musical with a book by Andrew Bergman and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. The musical is based on the 1992 movie of the same name which Bergman also wrote and directed. The musical had its world premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse and premiered on Broadway in January 2015.
The musical held a workshop and backers auditions in October 2011, with T.R. Knight, Mary Faber, and Tony Danza in the leads. Nancy Opel, Alvin Ing, John Conlee, Rob Bartlett, and Deborah Lew also took part in the workshop, which was directed by Gary Griffin.
The musical had been originally scheduled to premiere in November 2012 in Toronto and to premiere on Broadway in the spring of 2013, but those plans fell through. When the Toronto engagement was called off, the producers said: "The New York producers have decided not to open the show in Toronto this fall because of scheduling issues. Future plans for the production will be announced soon."
Subsequently, the musical premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, New Jersey on September 26, 2013 (previews), running through October 27, 2013, with an expected move to Broadway in 2014. Gary Griffin is the director, with choreography by Denis Jones, and Tony Danza starring as Tommy Korman. The cast features Rob McClure as Jack Singer, Brynn O'Malley as Betsy Nolan, Nancy Opel as Bea Singer, Matthew Saldivar as Johnny Sandwich, David Josefsberg as Buddy Rocky/Roy Bacon, and Catherine Ricafort as Mahi.
The musical opened on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre on November 18, 2014 in previews, and officially on January 15, 2015. The cast featured Tony Danza as Tommy Korman, Rob McClure as Jack Singer, and Brynn O'Malley as Betsy Nolan. The ensemble consisted of Matt Allen, Tracee Beazer, Grady McLeod Bowman, Barry Busby, Leslie Donna Flesner, Gaelen Gilliland, Albert Guerzon, Raymond J. Lee, George Merrick, Jessica Naimy, Zachary Prince, Catherine Ricafort, Jonalyn Saxer, Brendon Stimson, Erica Sweany, Cary Tedder, and Katie Webber.
On March 31, the producers announced its closing on Broadway due to poor sales at the box office. According to Playbill, "The musical was praised by critics, but failed to catch on at the box office."The show closed on Broadway on April 5, 2015.
On March 12, 2017, the London premiere was given by the London Musical Theatre Orchestra conducted by Jason Robert Brown in a semi-staged concert version at the London Palladium. The concert was met with rave reviews from audiences, three standing ovations and a speech and solo performance on piano and ukulele by Brown himself. The production, produced by Yeoburn and Price for United Theatrical, starred Maxwell Caulfield as Tommy, Samantha Barks as Betsy, Arthur Darvill as Jack, Rosemary Ashe as Bea Singer, Nicolas Colicos as Johnny Sandwich, Simon Lipkin as Buddy Rocky/Roy Bacon, Maisey Bawden as Mahi, Daniel Amity as Raymond, and Hywel Dowsell as Teihutu.
Jack Singer and his girlfriend of five years, Betsy Nolan, are in love ("I Love Betsy"). But when he tries to buy her an engagement ring, he suffers a panic attack as he remembers his mother's dying wish from ten years earlier—that he never marry, because no woman could love him as she did ("Never Get Married"). Betsy tells Jack that she can't wait indefinitely for him to deal with his issues ("Anywhere But Here"). He proposes that they elope to Las Vegas, and she accepts. They check into the Milano hotel ("When You Say Vegas"), and Betsy immediately catches the attention of Tommy Korman, a wealthy gambler; she bears an uncanny resemblance to his late wife Donna, an avid sunbather who died of skin cancer ("Out of the Sun"). He decides to steal Betsy from Jack ("The Invitation/Forever Starts Tonight"). Tommy invites Jack to a private poker game, so Betsy shops for a wedding dress ("Betsy's Getting Married/The Game"). Tommy beats Jack's straight flush with a royal flush, leaving Jack owing Tommy $58,000. Tommy proposes that Jack can be spared physical violence if he agrees to let Betsy spend the rest of the weekend with Tommy ("Come to an Agreement"). Betsy is incensed, but agrees to meet Tommy. Tommy charms Betsy with recollections of Donna and with his pride in their son who now has a wife and baby. Tommy shocks Jack by informing Betsy that he wants to spend their weekend together in Hawaii; Betsy is so angry at Jack that she agrees to leave with Tommy. Jack decides he must take action ("Do Something"), but is too late to stop them from boarding a plane; he buys a ticket to follow them.
The travelers arrive in Hawaii ("Hawaii/Waiting for You"). Jack is approached by Teihutu and Mahi, who offer to guide him ("Every Day Is Happy in Hawaii") but are secretly employed by Tommy to distract him; Mahi attempts to seduce Jack ("Friki-Friki"), but fails. Betsy gets along well with Tommy and his son's family, unaware that they are hired actors. She shares a tender moment with Tommy as they sing an old standard together ("You Made the Wait Worthwhile"). Betsy refrains from being intimate with him, but Tommy confides in his henchman Johnny Sandwich that he still thinks his plan will be successful ("A Little Luck"). Meanwhile, Mahi is moved by Jack's plight and takes him to a sacred grove where a mother's curse can be broken ("The Garden of Disappointed Mothers"). Jack confronts his mother ("Isn't That Enough?"), who relents and agrees to let him and Betsy be happy—but only if Jack proves himself as a man. Tommy plies Betsy with drinks and tells her that Jack only owed him $800; she is so outraged (and drunk) that she kisses Tommy and demands that he immediately marry her in Las Vegas. Mahi informs Jack that Tommy and Betsy are leaving Hawaii, but he is unable to catch them. No reasonable travel options are available ("Airport Song"), but Jack manages to join a troupe of Elvis impersonators making a "pilgrimage" to Las Vegas. However, when the plane approaches Las Vegas, he learns that he must skydive into the city ("Higher Love"). He panics, but ultimately makes the jump, thus proving himself. Betsy, having sobered up, rethinks her decision ("I've Been Thinking"), and finally rejects Tommy after Johnny accidentally confirms the true amount of Jack's debt. Jack parachutes into Betsy's arms and they marry on the spot ("Honeymoon in Vegas (Finale)")
Marilyn Stasio, reviewing for Variety, wrote that the set of Anna Louizos was "garishly witty" and noted the "breezy score (a tribute to the art of finger-snapping) and the brassy swing styling of the fantastic onstage band under Tom Murray’s enthusiastic direction." However, she mentioned the "dated feel to the farcical plot", concluding "The show seems to have been rushed to Broadway a bit prematurely, since some rather obvious bald spots in the second act still need work,... Happily, there’s no time for snoozing once Roy Bacon (the invaluable Josefsberg again), the world’s funniest Elvis impersonator, and a singing chorus of brilliantly costumed Flying Elvises show up to rescue Jack — and the show."
Ben Brantley, in his review for The New York Times, called the musical "bright and bouncy", "a real-live, old-fashioned, deeply satisfying Broadway musical in a way few new shows are anymore." Of Brown's score, he wrote: "His songs seamlessly propel plot and define character in the way numbers did in the heyday of Rodgers and Hammerstein."
Awards and honors
Original Broadway production
|2015||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Nancy Opel||Nominated|
|Outstanding Music||Jason Robert Brown||Nominated|
|Outstanding Orchestrations||Jason Robert Brown, Don Sebesky, Larry Blank, and Charlie Rosen||Nominated|
|Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical||Drew Levy and Scott Lehrer||Nominated|
|Drama League Award||Distinguished Performance||Rob McClure||Nominated|
- "Jason Robert Brown's HONEYMOON IN VEGAS Headed to Broadway in 2013; Tony Danza to Star". Broadwayworld.com. 2012-02-06. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- "Breaking News: HONEYMOON IN VEGAS Toronto Production Called Off; Future Plans for Show to be Announced Soon". Broadwayworld.com. 2012-08-01. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- Gans, Andrew. "Tony Danza, Rob McClure and Brynn O'Malley Enjoy a 'Honeymoon in Vegas', Beginning Sept. 26" playbill.com, September 26, 2013
- Staff. "The Verdict: Critics Review Jason Robert Brown's 'Honeymoon in Vegas' at Paper Mill" playbill.com, October 11, 2013
- Hetrick, Adam. "Jason Robert Brown's 'Honeymoon in Vegas' Will Premiere at Paper Mill This Fall Prior to Broadway" Playbill, February 27, 2013
- "The New 75th Anniversary Season is Coming!" papermill.org, accessed April 4, 2013
- The show Playbill
- Gans, Andrew. Complete Cast and Creative Team Announced for Paper Mill's Broadway-Bound Honeymoon in Vegas" playbill.com, August 16, 2013
-  Playbill
- Gioia, Michael and Gans, Andrew. "The Honeymoon Is Over! Broadway's 'Honeymoon in Vegas', Starring Tony Danza, To Close" Playbill, March 31, 2015
- Playbill Staff. "The Verdict: Read Reviews for Broadway's 'Honeymoon in Vegas'" Playbill, January 15, 2015
-  The New York Times, March 31, 2015
- Stasio, Marilyn. "Broadway Review: ‘Honeymoon in Vegas’" Variety, January 15, 2015
- Brantley, Ben. "What Happens in Vegas Comes to New York", The New York Times, January 15, 2015, p. C1