The Honeymooners



Does 1950s black-and-white television situation comedy scale up to 2017 Broadway-bound live musical theater? Well, sorta. How you like “The Honeymooners” — in national premiere at the Papermill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey — depends sharply on the expectations you bring to the theater.

If you’re looking for a modern Broadway experience with snazzy sets, on-point choreography, electronically augmented orchestration and just a little naughtier than prime-time network television, it’s all here.

On the other hand, the 2 1/2 hour running time, complete with 18 musical numbers, barely contains enough plot for a 22-minute-plus-commercials classic sitcom episode. Yes, Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton get themselves into a ridiculous situation — more than slightly reminiscent of another Broadway classic: “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” And comedy ensues — but has to go on hold for minutes at a time while a musical number unfolds, telling us more about the characters than we really need to know if we just want to laugh with them.

The large house handicaps the actors trying to evoke classic personalities from the small screen. The exquisite timing and facial reactions of Alice, Ed, Ralph and Trixie that had us ROFLMAO * in the old days don’t always register past the footlights.

The result is a good evening at the theater, but one that does not scale the comedic heights of its inspiration,

3 1/2 stars.

Phil Neches

* Google it, or ask a grandchild.


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.