REVIEW: ‘Vegas’ gets three bars

The Vintage has packed its main stage to the brim with enough talent that by the second number, the focus isn’t on the slapped-together look of the production but instead on the vocal and comedic talent the theater has brought in for this show

AURORA | For a show about Vegas, with all its neon, gold, and pizazz, the Vintage Theater’s production of “Honeymoon in Vegas” is lacking in glitz and glamor.

But that isn’t to speak ill of the barebones production of the newish Broadway musical. The Vintage has packed its main stage to the brim with enough talent that by the second number, the focus isn’t on the slapped-together look of the production but instead on the vocal and comedic talent the theater has brought in for this show.

For those of you who somehow missed this much-oft TV rerun movie, the musical is based on that early 1990s flick of the same name starring Nicolas Cage, Sarah Jessica Parker and James Caan. Cage and Jessica Parker are a loving couple, Jack and Betsy, whose future has been placed on hold because Jack’s mother cursed him with her dying breath by making him promise he’d never get married. In an attempt to break the curse, Jack and Betsy run off to Vegas to get hitched, where Jack loses his love in a card game to Cann’s Tommy, who has become infatuated with Betsy because she looks like his dead wife.

Yeah. The movie, well, it’s just straight up ridiculous. There’s skydiving Elvises, fake offspring, rented babies and plenty of cons. And the musical has captured all of that ridiculousness and added in a bunch of Broadway tunes that don’t break any molds but are nonetheless freshishly entertaining.

Despite the oddly meager set, the stage is overflowing with talent. During several numbers that feature everyone in the 18-member cast, it was a small wonder that everyone could fit together on stage.

But there actually is a little bit of charm that comes from the lower production value of the show. It’s like they’re saying, “Yeah, this is a regional theater, and no we can’t afford to rent a slot machine or afford to pay for someone to make it for us. Do you want to focus on that or hear us absolutely kill this next musical number?”

Carter Edward Smith’s Jack, Carmen Vreeman Shedd’s Betsy, and Brian Walker-Smith’s Tommy really are the heart of the show and it’s on their backs that the success of the show rests. If the three weren’t pitch perfect, both vocally and comedically, the show would be kaput. But luckily for this production, the trio make the show worth the price of admission and then some. Smith & Shedd are perfect together as the cursed couple and Walker-Smith brings a bit of Sinatra to his character that help push the show over the edge.

In a show that features 18 cast members, there’s more than a few actors that have a chance to steal some scenes. Michael O’Shea, as Tommy’s right hand man, Johnny, handles the comedic relief his character brings with aplomb. Emily Gerhard, who’s making her third appearance in a Vintage show this year, has maybe the funniest moment of the play with her song “Friki-Friki,” a very blue Hawaiian love song about the beast with two backs. And Suzanne Connors Nepi, as Jack’s dead mother who is still keeping the curse alive, is a scene stealer, even when she’s just stopping in to torment her son for a brief moment or two.

So even if this production is more Reno and less Vegas, it’s still a great night in the house. I mean, it’s got skydiving Elvis for crying out loud. What more do you need to know?

Honeymoon in Vegas

• At the Vintage Theater,
1468 Dayton St.

• Playing now through Dec. 17

• Admission is $29 advanced, $34 at door.

• 303- 856-7830

• Visit vintagetheatre.com/honeymoon-in-vegas for info and tickets.