Honeymoon in Vegas and Wolfgang's Steakhouse

Photo by Ruven Afanador for Vanity Fair

Based on the film written and directed by Andrew Bergman, in which a sweaty Nicholas Cage tried to pay off a gambling debt with his fiancée, Sarah Jessica Parker. As long as you ignore the woman-as-chattel theme, you’ll have a great time at Honeymoon in Vegas. The onstage orchestra sets the mood with a terrific overture.

Tony Danza is suave as the casino owner Tommy Korman, in mourning. Betsy Nolan (Brynn O’Malley) is a dead ringer for Tommy’s late wife and a Vassar-educated teacher to boot. O’Malley has an edge that makes Betsy believable. It’s stunning when she appears as a mirage of Tommy’s less impressive dead wife, with crazy hairdo and manicure, chewing gum and sunbathing in a bikini.  

Rob McClure’s sweet Jack Singer stumbles his way to heroic, but first wins the audience singing “I Love Betsy.” When shopping at Tiffany’s for Betsy’s ring, his mother’s ghost (Nancy Opel) hilariously rises from a display case. Jack’s manipulated into playing poker with Tommy, who suggests as payment for a huge debt a chaste weekend with Betsy. Insulted, Betsy ends their engagement and stalks off with him.

Tommy secretly plans to marry her himself at a 24-hour Nevada chapel, but first spirits her away to his private island in Hawaii. The orchestra changes into Hawaiian shirts for this part. Jack follows them and proves his mettle by skydiving and by resisting the local women. Despite Catherine Ricafort’s vibrant voice and selling of the song, “Friki-Friki” is a road bump.

Lyrics and music by Jason Robert Brown are otherwise so clever that you follow every word. Choreographed showgirls and Elvis impersonators add zing. Sleazy, cheesy Vegas denizens are expansively portrayed by David Josefsberg, Michael Saldivar and George Merrick and all of the others. Honeymoon in Vegas is a very classy production.

Head waiter, Matt
Wolfgang’s is a high roller’s steakhouse. The Times Square location has tall windows and unusual spaciousness. It’s light and airy any time of the day. Park Avenue Wolfgang’s has an amazing vaulted tiled ceiling. We’d like to visit all the locations and compare them architecturally. They're always open; lunch and dinner served seven days a week including holidays.

Mouth-watering smells hit as you walk in, and a one-page menu makes the choices seem manageable. That’s a little deceptive, because it’s hard to skip extravagant appetizers, like the specialty Canadian bacon strip that would be a main course in any other country. Chunky crab cake comes with a cool and delicious herb sauce that we’d like the recipe for. Tomato sauce, horseradish on the side, accompanies the seafood platter and is also a fine sauce. Steaks and lamb come perfectly seared and tender, with brilliant flavor. Baked potatoes the size of footballs and chipped German potatoes lead as side dishes. Another favorite with guests is creamed spinach that is pure spinach (without cream). Their famous Schlag with dessert is so fully whipped, the way it's done at the Wisconsin State Fair, that you can cut it with a knife and fork, and it’s served in the size of the snow bank outside.