Honeymoon in Vegas (Nederlander Theatre – NYC)

Last night I saw Honeymoon in Vegas on Broadway. I was able to score a second row orchestra seat on the aisle at the last minute, which has me concerned about the show’s ticket selling power. It’s a solid, good show, and it has a terrific score. I have the CD but haven’t listened to it yet, an oversight that I will definitely rectify soon.

I’ve never seen the film that the musical is based on, but the show has the basic “guy has cold feet – loses girl – warms feet and wins girl back” premise. I didn’t expect it to be as funny as it was, or for it to move so quickly with as much joy.

Rob McClure, looking far more handsome live than he appears in the show’s advertising (think a goofier, looser Zachary Levi), is adorable as the lead, and his energy is infectious. Brynn O’Malley as his fiancée is just as engaging, and the pair have great chemistry and look like a couple. Brynn’s wig netting was quite visible during the first act, but that isn’t her fault.

Tony Danza is a strong performer but doesn’t overpower his cast mates, which seems to take some effort on his part. It’s not because the rest of the cast isn’t interesting, but because Danza has an abundance of charm and likeablity about him. He plays a rather conniving, sleazy role, but his resting face is one with a smile, so it is hard not to like him even when I’m not supposed to! Aside from him straining to sing in a key higher than advisable in a song that was unnecessary anyway and not allowing himself to really be seen as despicable, I found Tony Danza difficult to criticize. The cast all seem to like performing with him as well, as I caught a few sly smiles and winks here and there. Would the show work better with someone playing the role as truly rotten? Probably, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy Danza’s softer, safe interpretation.

Nancy Opel as McClure’s mom is outrageous and not afraid to appear truly hideous in that “elderly librarian cat lady” way. She pops up unexpectedly several times as a figment of McClure’s imagination, though eventually it appears that other people can see and hear her two, notably in a scene in which she is a tree (don’t ask) and dropping down from the sky in full Elvis drag. Her asides end up coming off as too silly for my taste, but her moments on stage were the ones that made me laugh the most.

I hope this show finds its audience and eventually tours. It’s fun, engaging, silly, modern – there is an awful lot to like in it.

***/****

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