BWW Review: THE HONEYMOONERS at Paper Mill Playhouse Shines Bright
Get excited and get your tickets. Paper Mill Playhouse opens their 2017/2018 season with the world-premiere production of a dynamic new musical comedy, The Honeymooners. The show features a stellar cast, brilliant direction by John Rando, terrific choreography by Joshua Bergasse with superb musical direction and vocal arrangements by Remy Kurs. Based on the popular CBS television sitcom that first aired in 1955, the book is by Dusty Kay and Bill Nuss, music by Stephen Weiner, and lyrics by Peter Mills. For those who remember the classic series, it brings back the fun, but it's also a show for a new generation of theatergoers. The Honeymooners shines bright on the Millburn stage through October 29.
Set in New York City, Brooklynites, Ralph Kramden, a gregarious bus driver, and his best buddy Ed Norton, a city sewer worker, win a jingle contest for a cheese company. It's a surprise not only to the two men, but also to Ralph's wife, Alice and Norton's wife, Trixie. Ralph and Norton are soon offered positions in the high profile world of Manhattan advertising, a real departure from their blue-collar jobs. But their new roles at the competitive firm of Upshaw & Young create tensions that threaten to disrupt the men's long-term friendship. In the meantime, Trixie revisits her career as a burlesque dancer and Alice tries to maintain a level head in the face of change. The cleverly crafted story about success, friendship, and romance is made even more enthralling with the show's elaborate staging and excellent song and dance numbers.
Leading the outstanding cast are Broadway greats, Michael McGrath as Ralph Kramden, Michael Mastro as Ed Norton, Leslie Kritzer as Alice Kramden, and Laura Bell Bundy as Trixie Norton. Their performances are faithful to the original characters, yet they bring a new and delightful spirit to the roles.
The talented company also includes Lewis Cleale as the ad agency's creative director, Bryce Bennett; Lewis J. Stadlen as the cheese company's owner, Old Man Faciamatta and David Wohl as the head of the ad agency, Allen Upshaw.
The ensemble features Holly Ann Butler, Chris Dwan, Hannah Florence, Tessa Grady, Stacey Todd Holt, Ryan Kasprzak, Drew King, Eloise Kropp, Harris Milgrim, Justin Prescott, Lance Roberts, Jeffrey Schecter, Britton Smith, Alison Solomon, Michael Walters and Kevin Worley.
The Honeymooners dazzling and memorable score will have you tapping your toes as you enjoy the show. Numbers include "Going Places" by Ralph and Bus Drivers; "Undeniable" by Trixie and Norton; "Toast of the Town" by Ralph, Alice and New York Society; "You're One of Our Kind" by Bennett and Norton; "A Woman's Work" by Alice and "Baby, You're the Greatest" by Cavalcade Host, Ralph, Alice, Norton, Trixie and Ensemble.
The production team has done a great job of bringing The Honeymooners to the stage. The team includes set design by Beowulf Boritt; costume design by Jess Goldstein; lighting design by Jason Lyons; sound design by Kai Harada; hair, wig & makeup design by Leah J. Loukas; with orchestrations by Doug Besterman and dance arrangements by Sam Davis. The production stage manager is Timothy R. Semon. Casting is by Telsey + Company, Patrick Goodwin, CSA.
The Honeymooners is sure to go far in the realm of musical theatre. It's a show full of character and vitality that has everything going for it. We applaud Paper Mill Playhouse Managing Director Todd Schmidt and Producing Artistic Director, Mark S. Hoebee for bringing it to the Millburn stage.
The Honeymooners will be performed at Paper Mill Playhouse for a limited engagement through Sunday, October 29. The Playhouse is located at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn. For tickets, call the Box Office at 973.376.4343 and visit https://papermill.org/.
Photo Credit: Evan Zimmerman