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Book A “Honeymoon in Vegas” With the RTC

By Dan Guarino

It’s true. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But what happens when “Honeymoon In Vegas” opens on Friday, September 9, at the Rockaway Theatre Company (RTC) will be a swirling musical-comedy that fills the stage with razzle-dazzle laughs, catchy songs, dancing, colorful costumes, heartfelt moments and plot twists you won’t see coming.

The show runs September 9 through September 25 at RTC’s Post Theatre in Fort Tilden.

“Honeymoon in Vegas,” involves Jack and Betsy who are about to get married (or are they?), gambler/gangster Tommy Korman, lounge singers, showgirls, a possible Elvis sighting, Momma, native gods and an assortment of colorful characters. The onstage action spans Brooklyn, Hawaii and, of course, Vegas.

“Honeymoon in Vegas,” based on the 1992 James Caan/Nicholas Cage film of the same name, was made into a musical which opened on Broadway starring Tony Danza in 2014.

RTC director Frank Caiti notes, it’s a hilarious show which “has everything audiences look for in a classic large-stage musical, while bringing its own unique brand of comedy. It sort of puts a hilarious bend on the musical-comedy genre. It has rarely been done since its initial Broadway incarnation,” but now it’s coming to Rockaway.

Caiti himself is no stranger to all aspects of the stage. “I’ve been involved with the RTC for 18 years, as a director, actor, set designer and teacher. As a director, my approach is to always be mindful of the experience the audience is having, and to make the most that I can out of the material we are working on. I try to set an environment in rehearsals that always point us toward a high overall production value and a meaningful experience for my actors, designers and crew,” he said.

The crew and cast guarantee there will be plenty of laughs and surprises along the way. Indeed, production on “Vegas” has been very hands-on. The cast has been rehearsing lines, dance and music for days on end, and choreographing the many set-piece movements. Plus happily spending a day together painting those brightly colorful sets.

“The entire team is about 40 people including cast, musicians, designers, crew and technicians,” says Caiti. “Everyone has been a joy to work with. We laugh and have a ton of fun at every rehearsal on our way to a finished product.”

They have also worked very fast. Normally musical productions take several months. “Our rehearsal period for this show has been relatively short, about six weeks. ‘Honeymoon in Vegas’ is a giant Broadway musical, and I think what we have done in such a short amount of time is a testament to everyone involved.”

Director Caiti credits assistant director John Panepinto, music director/conductor Jeff Arzberger, choreographer Adele Wendt, costumers/designers Susan Corning and Mia Melchiorri, lighting designer Diana Bayne, technical director Tony Homesy, stage manager Suzanne Riggs and all the cast and crew.

Summing up “Vegas,” he says it is, “Fun. Fun. Fun. The show is a trip, quite literally. It has all the glitz of the Vegas Strip with extra magic thrown in for good measure. The music is catchy, clever and played by 12 amazing musicians. The costumes are stunning (and there are A LOT of them) and the set is, perhaps, the largest we’ve ever had in the RTC. To say this show is a spectacle is pretty accurate!”

Supporting Rockaway’s arts is a great thing, he notes. But it’s quite another thing to come out and be completely “WOW’ed by the experience. We open September 9 and are ready to WOW you! Come along for the ride!”

Show dates are Fridays/Saturdays, September 9/10, 16/17, 23/24 at 8 p.m., and Saturday, September 10, and Sundays, 9/18 and 9/25 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available at Rockawaytheatrecompany.org.

So, what happens in Vegas? Well, says the Rockaway Theatre Company, you’ll just have to come and see “Honeymoon in Vegas” to find out!

Photo by Frank Caiti.

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