Review Roundup: HONEYMOON IN VEGAS at The Marriott Theatre in Chicago
HONEYMOON IN VEGAS opened at The Marriott Theatre in Chicago on August 23 and runs until October 15. The cast features Michael Mahler as Jack Singer, Samantha Pauly as Betsy Nolan, Sean Allan as Tommy Korman, Cole Burden as Buddy Rocky / Roy Bacon, Marya Grandy as Bea Singer, and Steven Strafford as Johnny Sandwich.
The cast also includes DeShawn Bowens, Christine Bunuan, Aaron Choi, Shana Dagny, Devin DeSantis, Alejandro Fonseca, Alex Goodrich, Anne Gunn, Kristina Larson, Tyler John Logan, Richard Manera, James Rank, Jessica Wolfrum Raun, Drew Redington, Laura Savage, Allison Sill, and Ambria Sylvain.
Let's see what the critics had to say!
Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune: Griffin's cast is well stocked with talent, much of which is fully capable of some subversive irony, and there is one elevator scene with showgirls and mobsters that's genuinely hilarious (Christine Bunuan, playing a Hawaiian operative, is funny too). So the night is far from miserable: Griffin has a few other comic Easter eggs hidden away, and even material this shallow cannot make Michael Mahler, who plays Jack the schmuck, into anything other than an empathetic onstage presence. And, for the record, Pauly is just fine. She does all she can. She can't not go to Hawaii.
Barbara Vitello, The Daily Herald: Without question, "Honeymoon in Vegas" is a confection. But it's a well-crafted confection... Embracing the silliness, Griffin, Chicago Shakespeare Theater's associate artistic director, plays up the kitsch. He stages the show with a nudge, a wink and absolute sincerity. He and his cast understand perfectly what this "Honeymoon" is all about. And they deliver, in spades.
Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times: Let's deal the winning cards right from the start here: "Honeymoon in Vegas," the non-stop laugh-inducing, joy-generating show now at the Marriott Theatre, is the sort of musical comedy you might think no one is capable of creating any more. With a plot line as zany as the one for an old-fashioned gem like "Anything Goes," paired with a mother-son relationship as fraught and funny as anything dreamed up by Mike Nichols and Elaine May (and linked to a fear-of-commitment), it is goofy escapist entertainment of the highest order.
Philip Potempa, Chicago Post-Tribune: The bonus of this reinvented Broadway musical is the assembled talent of the supporting cast, which includes DeShawn Bowens, Christine Bunuan, Aaron Choi, Shana Dagny, Devin DeSantis, Alejandro Fonseca, Alex Goodrich, Anne Gunn, Kristina Larson, Tyler John Logan, Richard Manera, James Rank, Jessica Wolfrum Raun, Drew Redington, Laura Savage, Allison Sill and Ambria Sylvain.Since the Marriott space is a "theater-in-the-round", this musical requires some very clever staging which has been accomplished with creativity to seamlessly transport audiences to the many needed scene locations.
Katherine Foley, Picture This Post: The talented actors and ensemble members dance and sing their hearts out as director Gary Griffin makes skilled use of a massive round stage presenting to audience members from every side. The music and dance is frenetic and perfectly timed thanks to a professional orchestra (conducted by Patti Garwood) and the brilliant dance captain Laura Savage. While the storyline of Honeymoon In Vegas itself is a bit old-fashioned and contrived (not to mention a bit patriarchal), the production value and talent of the performers create a Broadway-level spectacle- unsurprisingly, as it is run by the original Broadway team (including director Gary Griffin, choreographer Denis Jones, and costume designer Brian Hemesath). Both the glamour and danger of Vegas are contrasted with the spiritual peace of Hawaii through the use of some outlandish imagery that is well complimented by the accompanying musical numbers.
Alan Bresloff, Around The Town Chicago: When it comes to musical theater, one can always rest assured that the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire will bring quality to their stage. Even when they opt to do a show during the season that is not highly rated, when they put it on their stage, often it is even better than the original. Part of it is the directors that they use and the other part is the actors that are available here in Chicago... Patty Garwood and her nine musicians certainly made the music sound as if the orchestra was much larger. One of the special parts of attending a Marriott performance is knowing that the ensemble will change costumes and characters brilliantly.
Lawrence Bommer, Stage and Cinema: Along the wacky way, ingenious Mr. Griffin, abetted by supple sets by Kevin Depinet and brilliant projections by Anthony Churchill, pulls out all the stops. He keeps the fun frothy and the audience from asking questions about probability and causation. We're delighted with surefire staple stereotypes: lounge singer Buddy Rocky (Cole Burden); Tommy's dithering henchman Johnny Sandwich (Steven Strafford); and three very sassy ticketing agents (Alex Goodrich, Anne Gunn and Ambria Sylvain) in the frenetic "Airport Song." More gratuitous than earned, the production numbers, hoofed up hugely by choreographer Denis Jones, pop up like passion fruit. As with the ebullient rouser "Betsy's Getting Married," they're enough excuse for entertainment.