By Kenneth Jones
07 Mar 2013
Michael McGrath, the Broadway clown who won a Tony Award for playing a Noo Yawk bootlegger in Nice Work If You Can Get It, was previosuly announced to bring his populist touch to the iconic role of bus driver Ralph Kramden in the musical The Honeymooners, under the direction of La Cage aux Folles Tony winner Mitchell, who will also choreograph.
"We are disappointed that we will not produce The Honeymooners this season, but we hope that San Diego audiences will be able to enjoy this delightful musical in the future," artistic director Barry Edelstein said in a March 7 statement. "We are hard at work seeking an exciting replacement for the show that we will announce shortly with the rest of our wonderful 2013-14 season."
No additional information about the premiere or trajectory of The Honeymooners, inspired by the 1950s TV sitcom, was announced.
Portly and pugnacious New York City bus driver Kramden, originally played by Jackie Gleason in the vintage CBS TV series, was always sparring with his loudmouth wife, Alice (originally Audrey Meadows), and suffering the dimness of his sewer-worker best friend, Ed Norton (originally Art Carney), who was married to Trixie (originally Joyce Randolph). The series existed in a time (the mid-1950s) when threatening to slug your wife (sending her "to the moon") was a source of hilarity; love and affection would always triumph — the yearning, working-class characters were inevitably reconciled at the end of every half-hour.
Here's how The Old Globe described the new musical comedy: "Ralph Kramden and his buddy Ed Norton are back with a whole new scheme in this world-premiere musical. The two friends enter a jingle contest, and much to the shock of their long-suffering wives, they actually win! Soon they are catapulted out of Brooklyn and into the cutthroat world of Madison Avenue, where they find themselves torn between success and friendship. Bursting with bouncy tunes and showbiz pizzazz, The Honeymooners will send audiences to the moon!"
The Honeymooners was to be presented under a license from CBS. The complete creative team and casting had not yet been announced.
Created by comedian, actor and musician Jackie Gleason, "The Honeymooners" was launched as a six-minute sketch on Gleason's "Cavalcade of Stars" in 1951. It became a series in 1955. The plots often involved harebrained schemes to make quick cash.
McGrath won the 2012 Tony Award for Featured Actor in a Musical and a Drama Desk Award for Nice Work If You Can Get It. He has also appeared on Broadway in Born Yesterday, Memphis, Spamalot (Tony and Drama Desk nominations), Is He Dead?, Wonderful Town, Little Me, Swinging on a Star (Theatre World Award, Drama Desk nomination), The Goodbye Girl and My Favorite Year.
Dusty Kay (book) is a screenwriter, playwright and producer. He was the supervising producer of "Entourage," for which he received Emmy, Writers Guild and Golden Globe Award nominations. As supervising producer of "Roseanne," he received a Golden Globe nomination. Kay wrote and produced the television movie "Triplecross" (ABC), was supervising producer of "Early Edition" and "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" (Warner Brothers/ABC) and was creator and executive producer of "Once a Hero" (ABC).
Bill Nuss (book) is a television show runner, writer and producer. He is president of Confidential Pictures, a Los Angeles-based production company that supplies primetime series to network and cable broadcasters. Nuss has produced, written or created over 300 hours of network primetime series. In addition to the new "Hawaii Five-0" and "NCIS," he worked with his mentor, the late Stephen J. Cannell, on Fox's first hit, "21 Jump Street" starring Johnny Depp, "Booker," "The A-Team" and more. Nuss was the creator and executive producer of "Pacific Blue" starring Mario Lopez, on USA Network.
Stephen Weiner (composer) composed the score to the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway production of Iron Curtain with Peter Mills. His additional scores include The Rivals, Rocket Science, Once Upon a Time in New Jersey, The Hudsucker Proxy, newyorkers and Spittin' Image. He is the winner of two Richard Rodgers Awards, a Jonathan Larson Grant, an ASCAP New Horizons Award and the Global Search for New Musicals Award. He is also an Obie, Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Award nominee. Weiner is a member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild of America.
Peter Mills (lyricist) contributed the lyrics to the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway production of Iron Curtain with music by Stephen Weiner. He has received the 2011 Cole Porter Award, the 2010 Kleban Prize, the 2007 Fred Ebb Award and two 2005 Drama Desk Award nominations for his show The Pursuit of Persephone, and he is also a 2002 Jonathan Larson Grant recipient. As a composer/lyricist, his shows include Illyria, The Flood and Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge. He holds an M.F.A. in Musical Theatre Writing from New York University and a degree in English/Dramatic Literature from Princeton University. Mills is a founding member of Prospect Theater Company.
For more about The Old Globe, visit OldGlobe.org.