'Honeymooners' Musical to Hit San Diego with an Eye toward Broadway

Michael McGrath at the 2012 Tony Awards

Tony Award winner Michael McGrath takes on the role of Ralph Kramden in this new musical comedy based on Jackie Gleason's legendary 1950s television series.

Hey, Norton! Guess who's hitting the boards?!

Ralph Kramden, Ed Norton and the rest of The Honeymooners will make their unofficial Broadway tryout when the new musical comedy opens The Old Globe Theatre's 2013-14 season.

The musical, based on the legendary CBS television series starring Jackie Gleason (Kramden), Art Carney (Norton), Audrey Meadows (as Ralph's wife, Alice) and Joyce Randolph (as Ed's wife, Trixie), originally ran from Oct. 1, 1955 to Sept. 22, 1956.

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Michael McGrath, the 2012 Tony Award winner for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Nice Work If You Can Get It), will star as small-time bus driver Kramden. Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde) will direct and choreograph. The musical comedy's book is written by Dusty Kay and Bill Nuss, with music by Stephen Weiner and lyrics by Peter Mills. The rest of the creative team will be announced at a later date.

“It’s a real delight to bring this fun and rollicking new musical comedy to San Diego,” said Old Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, in a statement. “I'm happy to see the brilliant Michael McGrath make his Globe debut, and I’m especially pleased to welcome the hugely talented Jerry Mitchell back to this theatre, where he choreographed The Full Monty, Imaginary Friends and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. As a kid I was a full-blown Honeymooners addict, and I ‘bang-zoomed’ away many more hours with the Kramdens and Nortons than I should probably admit. That's why it's a special joy to see Ralph, Ed, Alice and Trixie come to vivid life on our stage and to introduce these iconic American characters to a new generation.”

According to the announcement, the musical's plot has Kramden and Norton entering -- and winning -- a jingle contest, which casts the two couples into a fish-out-of-water experience, sending them from the safety of their beloved Brooklyn to the dog-eat-dog world of Madison Ave. Of course, the lines between friendship and success are tested, songs are sung and comedy ensues.

While no Broadway plans have been confirmed for the production, The Old Globe's long history as a tryout platform for major musicals indicates that the material is being test-driven in San Diego for a possible New York move.

The Honeymooners will run on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in San Diego's Old Globe Theatre from Sept. 8 – Oct. 27, 2013. Preview performances run Sept. 8 – 20. Opening night is Sunday, Sept. 22. The Honeymooners is presented under a license from CBS.


Email: Joshua.Stecker@thr.com; Twitter: @joshuastecker