Written by Samuel Loetscher
With the high-watt energy of a neon sign lighting up the Vegas strip, the Broward Center audience beamed as they piled into the house. Before the show began, Slow Burn Theater director co-founder Patrick Fitzwater welcomed the audience and asked us all if we had gotten high in the parking garage on our way in. Ftizwater went on to explain that he believes Honeymoon in Vegas is, in his opinion, one of the top five best Slow Burn Theatre productions and I have to say that I agree with him. “Honeymoon in Vegas” runs now at the Broward Center until February 19th with tickets available here.
As I made my way across the sky bridge into the Au-Rene Theater, the high energy felt absolutely palpable. However, as I navigated through crowds of tie-dye, ponchos, dreadlocks, and Grateful Dead t-shirts, I discovered that the headliner in the bigger room was a band I had never heard of before: “Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros featuring The Wolfpack.” As I exited the building and made my way over to the Amaturo Theater past the bootleggers selling glass pipes, a quick Google search explained to me that Bobby Weir is one of the founding members of The Grateful Dead.
“Honeymoon in Vegas” had its Broadway opening on January 15, 2015 starring Tony Danza of “Taxi” fame and Rob McClure, a favorite of movie-musical adaptations having starred in “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Little Shop of Horrors” in his most recent theatrical credits. Although the critics praised the show for its glitz and comedy, audiences failed to catch on and the show closed in April of that year, with no tour planned. One of the great things about Slow Burn Theatre is that they bring shows like “Honeymoon in Vegas” that never had a national tour to South Florida. The show kicks off with a lush 4-minute overture played by a 10 piece orchestra evoking the brassy sound of Old Hollywood. The musical is based off of the 1992 romantic comedy of the same name that stars Nicholas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker. The story follows Jack, played by Nick Anastasia, as he attempts to defy his mother’s dying wish and marry his long time girlfriend Betsy, played by Gaby Tortoledo.
Chaos ensues when the couple attempts to elope in Las Vegas. Upon arrival, Jack heads over to the casino to play a poker game where he falls $58k in debt to Tommy Korman, played by Ben Sandomir. To pay off the debt, the two enter into an arrangement that sends Jack on a hilarious odyssey to Hawaii where he is eventually rescued by a group of Elvis impersonators that bring him back to Las Vegas. The musical is filled with humorous songs by Jason Robert Brown with book by Andrew Bergman who also wrote the 1992 movie. While he is notable for original scores like “Parade” and “The Last Five Years,” with the musical adaptation of “Mr. Saturday Night” scored by Brown nominated for a Tony in the 2022 season for Best Score of a Musical. Featuring stage designs by Sean McClelland, the impressive multimedia spectacle immersed you with every single backdrop. Notably, Rick Peña’s costume design was especially praiseworthy in the Hawaii scenes.
Slow Burn Theatre’s production of “Honeymoon in Vegas” is at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Ft Lauderdale until February 19th with tickets available here. This is a total laugh-out-loud night at the theater that you will not want to miss!