Theatre Mirror Reviews - "THE WEDDING SINGER"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2010 by Tony Annicone

"The Wedding Singer"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The current show at Hendricken's Summer Stage's 11th season is "The Wedding Singer". It is based on the 1998 movie of the same name. It is 1985, Robbie Hart lives in his grandmother's basement in New Jersey and sings in a wedding band. His dreams of being a singer/songwriter are long gone, replaced now by a burning desire to find the right girl and settle down. When his fiancee, Linda, leaves him standing at the altar, he becomes a wedding planners worst nightmare, taking out his bitterness on stage until his eye and heart turn toward a new friend, Julia, but she's engaged to a wealthy Wall Street broker, Glenn. Will true love prevail or not, be sure to catch this show to find out with all its clever twists and turns. Davis Alianiello who graduated Hendricken in 2009, returns in triumph to direct this marvelous musical at Summer Stage. Richie Sylvia the new Arts director, musically directs this show while choreographer Theresa Pearson creates some funky 1980's dances. They are rewarded with a spontaneous standing ovation at the close of the show.

Davis who is an excellent actor, directs for the first time at Summer Stage and comes up triumphant with his casting and blocking this huge cast. He mixes the comic and dramatic moments perfectly obtaining stunning performances from his cast. Richie taught all the music to these performers and conducts a 15 piece orchestra with the rock and roll music sound of the 1980's. Joseph Fielding class of 2008 returns to play the piano for this show. Some of Teresa's dances include the moon walk, the twist, a kick-line and a walker dance. Brother John Kiernan and crew designed a wonderful two story interchangeable set with easy on and off pieces of furniture to change the locales. The wild and crazy multitude of colorful 1980's costumes are by Tiffany Signorelli.

Luke LaMontagne plays the leading role of Robbie. He does a fabulous job on his songs "It's Your Wedding Day", which is his signature song until Linda dumps him,"Somebody Kill Me", his reaction to her dumping him, and "Casualty of Love" when he destroys the wedding reception he's singing at, insulting the bride, making her cry and gets tossed into the dumpster by the groom, Billy Cavanaugh and the best man Sean O'Connor. His duets with Julia include "Come Out of the Dumpster", where she coaxes him to come out and behave, "Not That Kind of Thing", If I Told You" and the poignant "Grow Old With You". He wins the sympathy of the audience in this role. Tessa Ricci is dynamite as this spitfire waitress who wins the heart of Robbie. She must make a choice between him and her current fiancee, Glenn. She knocks your socks off with "Someday", her first solo about imagining what it'd be like to get married, taking the bride's veil and interjecting herself in their festivities, the dumpster song is hilarious as she explains how Robbie should play non-wedding functions, "Not That Kind of Thing" where they explain to the clerk they aren't the couple getting married and "If I Told You" where they realize they are in love with each other. "Grow Old with You" tugs at your heartstrings and is a gorgeous duet between Luke and Tessa where they admit their love at last. She also has a funny drunk scene. The biggest scene stealer in this show is Annalisa Carmosino as Grandma Rosie who sings "Note from Grandma" where she says Linda smells like cat pee and the hilarious "Move That Thang" where she raps about sex and does a geriatric dance with Ron Kitts . Alex McKhann is a hoot as Glenn, the conceited up tight Wall Street worker. He uses his terrific tenor voice on "All About the Green" where he sings the most important thing in the world is making money which opens the second act with a bang. He and the chorus do a topnotch dance to the song, too. Glenn acts snooty and steps out on Julia quite a bit. However Billy Idol impersonator teaches him a lesson. The unsympathetic role of Linda is well played by Niamh Molloy who shows off her lovely voice in "Linda's Note" where she does a sexy dance and "Let Me Come Home" where she wants him to take her back. Robbie's fellow band-mates Sammy and George are wonderfully played by Eliot Colantuano with a huge black wig and Ron Kitts with a huge red wig. They are like the two stooges with their funny one liners. They show off their strong voices in "Today You Are a Man" about a bar mitzvah and "Single". Eliot gets to sing a duet with Alex Andrews who plays Holly in the romantic ballad "Right in Front of Your Eyes" about falling in love again with each other. Alex does a dynamite job in her solo "Saturday Night in the City" where she and the cast do a dance like YMCA. She, Tessa and Sarah Burke who plays Julia's mother Angie sing and dance like the Supremes in "Pop The Question" where they surmise Glenn is going to ask Julia to marry him at the Carousel restaurant. Ron solos on "George's Prayer" where he does a take off on the Seder prayer in Yiddish, sings the Amen ala Fiddler on the Roof and gets many laughs. He also acts tres gay a couple of times. He is a hoot with Annalisa in "Move That Thang". There are some funny Vegas impersonators in this show including Lindsay Martin as Cindy Lauper, Ryan Champlin as Ronald Reagan, Sean O'Connor as Billy Idol and Kathleen Radigan as Imelda Marcos who help Robbie out in Vegas and head home with Robbie and Julia. So for a marvelous new musical be sure to catch "The Wedding Singer" at Summer Stage.

"The Wedding Singer" (23 - 31 July)
BISHOP HENDRICKEN HIGH SCHOOL
@ 2615 WRWICK aVENUE, warwick ri
1(401)739-3450 ext 172

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