Honeymoon In Vegas is the hit Broadway show, which opened at the Nederlander Theater, to rave reviews in January.
Broadway.com describes this new contribution to the Broadway musical canon:
“Say ‘I do’ to Broadway’s most hilarious and romantic new musical! The New York Times says it’s ‘over-the-top funny!’ Honeymoon tells the story of Jack, a Brooklynite with an extreme fear of marriage, who finally gets up the nerve to ask his girlfriend Betsy to marry him. But when smooth-talking gambler Tommy—looking for a second chance at love—falls head over heels for Betsy, Jack must go to extreme heights to win back the love of his life. A romantic romp from New York to Vegas to Hawaii, Honeymoon is non-stop, laugh-out-loud Broadway fun!’”
The audience at the 92nd Street Y, where I heard some of the Honeymoon cast and crew speak and perform as part of the series “92Y Talks,” certainly agreed with this description. When the moderator, Broadway commentator radio personality, Julie James, asked the audience to raise their hands if they had seen the play, the preponderance of the people shouted with enthusiasm. It was apparent that they enjoyed the show to the extent that they wanted to come to the Y to learn more by meeting the people involved with its creation and performance. I found it fascinating to be in the company of a creative team responsible for a hit. The principle conversation participants—Jason Robert Brown (music and lyrics), Andrew Bergman (book), and actors Tony Danza, Rob McClure, and Brynn O’Malley—were all erudite and oozing with talent.
The evening began with McClure belting out the show stopping opening number, “I Love Betsy.” They lyrics are replete with verve, humor, and references to contemporary New York culture such as Shake Shack. I laughed out loud when I closely encountered Brown’s brilliant decision to rhyme “fiancee” with “Beyonce.” This song is certainly not a part of Ethel Merman’s repertoire. It exudes the new and the now. At its conclusion, I loved Betsy, too.
I specifically enjoyed seeing Tony Danza. He is filled with talent and comes across as a real person. Flashing his trademark engaging smile, he sprinkled his remarks with “I’m Italian.” To me, Danza will forever be the Whose the Boss? sitcom protagonist who traded all of those jibes with Mona. Today, he stands as an exemplary Baby Boomer who illustrates why my generation still has the right stuff. When he sang “Get Out of the Sun,” a song about a woman who died from sun bathing—“I could have saved her with a higher SPF”—I was doubled over in hysterics. I loved Danza’s answer to an audience members question about how young people can break into Broadway: “Young people have to believe that they are the only ones who can do what they do.” As for Danza, no one does versatility and down to Earth New York Italian charm better.
Jason Robert Brown was on the mark when describing the creative process; “Writing songs is Chinese water torture, totally grueling. I sit and tear my hair out. That is the process.” Andrew Bergman chimed in and said, while making hand motions, “writing songs is like playing Charades.”
McClure was patently honest when he explained how he “almost died” when Stephen Sondheim came to see Honeymoon. Brynn O’Malley articulated the biggest truism of the conversation: “guys who don’t commit are timeless.”
Danza summed up the night when he said “You’re on Broadway. Everyone is good.” My experience at the Y belted out a la Ethel Merman that Honeymoon in Vegas is superb. I do so much want to see it!
– Marleen Barr