Bring on the parachuting Elvis imitators: Honeymoon in Vegas, the Jason Robert Brown musical starring Tony Danza that should have come to Broadway this season, will open this fall at the Nederander Organization-owned Brooks Atkinson Theatre, a source familiar with the negotiation confirmed Saturday.
A shortage of theaters prevented the show from coming in last fall after a critically acclaimed an SRO tryout during the summer at the Paper Mill Playhouse, a New Jersey nonprofit across the Hudson from Manhattan. The musical is an adaptation of the 1992 comedy starring Nicolas Cage and James Caan. Director and screenplay author Andrew Bergman also penned the script for the show.
Availability of the Atkinson — at just under 1,100 seats, on the small side for a big musical — came with the expected announcement that After Midnight would close at the end of the month. A critics’ favorite that never scored high with audiences despite stunt casting of pop stars including k.d. lang and Patti LaBelle, the big-band jazz revue lost the competition for Best Musical at last week’s Tony Awards, sealing its fate. The N.Y. Times put the cost of the show at $7 million, and it was nowhere close to recouping.
Honeymoon, about a suave, high-end card sharp (Danza) who falls for the fiancee of a mark (the appealing Rob McClure), should do considerably better with critics and audiences than Brown’s The Bridges Of Madison County, which won Toys for best score and orchestrations but flopped out at the box office and closed earlier this season. The Times and others gave it thumbs up at the Paper Mill. “Gary Griffin’s fleet staging, Denis Jones’s stylish dances and a fabulous big band conducted by Tom Murray come alive in Anna Louizos’s typically cheeky settings and Brian Hemesath’s spot-on costumes,” I wrote in my review for Bloomberg News. “Honeymoon is a winner.”