Book Your Reservation for a Honeymoon in Vegas

Book Your Reservation for a Honeymoon in Vegas

I know I saw the movie version of Honeymoon in Vegas when I was a little girl, but all I remember besides it starring Nicolas Cage was that at one point there were a lot of people dressed up as Elvis. The musical adaptation, now running at the Nederlander Theatre, delivers the Elvises and then some. What happens in Vegas might stay there, but the joy I got from seeing Honeymoon in Vegas is something I’d rather share.

Yes, the plot is a bit far-fetched, but there’s something about people breaking into song that makes it okay for the story to toe the line of silly and then completely trip over it.

Commitment-phobe Jack Singer (Rob McClure) is scared to propose to his longtime girlfriend, Betsy Nolan (Brynn O’Malley) because of his mom’s dying wish for him to never marry. After deciding enough is enough, the couple heads to Vegas with plans to elope. Much to Jack’s dismay, plans go a lot awry and Betsy ends up having to spend a weekend in Hawaii (no funny business) with rich gambler Tony Korman (Tony Danza). Insert some epic miscommunication, skydiving Elvis impersonators, and a toe-tapping soundtrack and you get a crazy, fun Broadway show.

Rob McClure’s Jack is a bit of a misguided putz, but is endearingly lovable when he gains some confidence and starts fighting for himself and the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. His comedic timing is on point, as is his physical humor. Yes, you laugh at Jack, but McClure completely earns those guffaws with carefully calculated jerks of his body. It’s almost like watching Charlie Chaplin in a modern musical. Oh wait… you totally are.

As a feminist, I am grateful Betsy has lines that point out how inherently wrong it is that she is basically treated like property by her fiancee and Tommy. Brynn O’Malley’s Betsy is as educated as she is beautiful; she’s a woman who knows what she wants but can still confidently admit when she makes mistakes. O’Malley’s presence on stage is both commanding and playful, wonderfully showcasing Betsy’s need for stability and adventure. I admire O’Malley’s vocal prowess and can’t wait to sing along to her tracks, and, wish I possessed a fraction of her talent.

And then there’s Tony Danza. (I’m smiling and blushing as I type this.) His Tommy Korman oozes similar charm to the Danza character I’m most familiar with (I’m of the Who’s the Boss? generation), but then there’s those moments where he’s just downright awful. Because who coerces a much younger woman to spend the weekend with him? Tommy Korman, that’s who. With his one-man SPF PSAs, a bit of tap dancing… and a need to force his dead ex-wife’s doppelgänger into a relationship with him instead of her longtime love. It was a privilege seeing Danza in this show and something grade school me never thought in a million years she would experience.

The cast is filled out by an equally talented ensemble, who play everything from showgirls to Elvises to ticket agents to mothers. Though the ticket agents’ number (“Airport Song”) had me laughing out loud, I must single out David Josefsberg for his dual roles of Vegas showman Buddy Rocket and lead Elvis impersonator Roy Bacon. Well played, sir. Well played.

Also well played: the music. It’s a pleasure seeing the members of the orchestra on stage during the Overture and Entr’acte so you know who is responsible for the instrumentals heard throughout the rest of the show. The music and lyrics for Honeymoon in Vegas are written by one of my favorite musical theater composers, Jason Robert Brown. This is his third show I’ve seen in the past year, though the first where I didn’t openly weep. Usually I lose it at the song that revolves around time (“Then Next Ten Minutes” from The Last Five Years and “One Second and a Million Miles” from The Bridges of Madison County), but I am proud to say that no tears fell during “You Make the Wait Worthwhile.” I did grin like an idiot throughout most of the score, though, and appreciated the clever and thoughtful lyrics.

You don’t have to leave the state or be married to enjoy a Honeymoon in Vegas; you just need to make your way to the Nederlander Theatre on W 41st St.

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