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

Bay Colony Productions' summer show is "The Wedding Singer" It is based on the 1998 movie of the same name. Go back to 1985 and relive the days of big hair, Madonna and Thriller. The title character, Robbie Hart lives in his grandmother's basement in New Jersey and is a would-be rock star who makes do by fronting a band that plays wedding receptions. He's good at his job because he's in love with love and the notion of happily ever after; that is, until he is left standing at the altar by his shanky fiancee, Linda. His dreams of being a songwriter are long gone, replaced by a burning desire to find the right girl and settle down. His only hope of salvation lies in the form of Julia Sullivan, a sweet, clumsy waitress who unfortunately already has a boyfriend, a Wall Street junk bonds whiz kid, Glen. Robbie takes his bitterness out onstage until Julia catches his eye. Will true love win the day or will money prevail? Director/choreographer Michael Hammond infuses high energy in his 21 member cast while Esther Zabinski obtains top vocals from them creating a memorable and thoroughly enjoyable summer show for audiences of all ages which receives a standing ovation as its reward.

Michael blocks the show beautifully and comes up with many dance styles including the snake, cabbage patch, running man, twist, moon walk, disco, kick-line. The dance numbers stop the show with their exuberance. He mixes the comic and dramatic moments beautifully obtaining fantastic performances from his cast. Esther not only conducts her 9 piece orchestra but plays lead keyboards, too. Mike Teixeira designed the set, stage manages the show and designed the lighting while Gail Gilman handles the props. Colorful 1980's costumes are by Daniel Kozar with sound run by Ed DiMarzio. Guest actor as the best man who makes a drunken scene at the wedding is played at this performance by the multitalented Jeff Mahoney. Adam Joy is marvelous as the angst ridden Robbie. He captures the heart and soul of this character. Adam's terrific voice is heard in "It's Your Wedding Day" which is his signature song until Linda dumps him, "Somebody Kill Me" his reaction to Linda dumping him where he hopes she fucking chokes and dies, and "Casualty of Love" when he destroys the wedding reception he's singing at, insults the bride and groom, makes fun of a table of nerds including a woman with sideburns, the bride punches him in the face and gets himself tossed in the dumpster by the groomsmen. His duets with Julia include "Come Out of the Dumpster", where she coaxes him to come out, behave and try singing at bar mitzvahs, "Not That Kind of Thing" where he and Julia go shopping, "If I Told You" where he and Julia have feelings for each other and the poignant "Grow Old With You". I last reviewed Adam as Snoopy in Charlie Brown last summer. Brittney Santoro, a gorgeous brunette plays Julia. I last reviewed her as Mimi in "Rent" for Uncommon in 2007. She is fantastic as this sweet,soulful waitress who wins the heart of Robbie. Julia must make a choice between Robbie and her current fiancee, Glenn. She is impressed with Glenn, his money and what it can buy. Julia, her mom Angie and Holly sing "Pop the Question" where they think Glenn is going to propose to Julia. Brittney's first solo is "Someday" where she imagines what it'd be like to get married, worming her way into the current wedding party which leads to many laughs, the dumpster song is hilarious as she convinces Robbie to sing at non-wedding functions, "Not That Kind of Thing" where they explain to the clerk that they aren't the couple getting married, she has a funny drunk scene when she is lead into Glenn's car and with Adam "If I Told You" which tugs at your heartstrings when they realize they are in love with each other as does the touching "Grow Old With You" where they admit their love at last. Both of them are terrific dancers, too. Dynamic job by both these leads.

The biggest scene stealer in this show is Victoria Weinstein as Robbie's foul mouth grandmother, Rosie who talks about how many men she had sex with before marriage and she also bought him a vibrating bed with a coin slot for the quarter. She gets to sing "A Note from Grandma" where she comforts Robbie by saying Linda is a shanky whore and "Move That Thang", a rap song with James Valentin as George. Victoria does a hilarious dance to this rap song which stops the show with their execution of it. She also goes out in the audience to choose a man to play her husband at their 50th anniversary party. I first reviewed Victoria as Emma Goldman in "Ragtime" with Michael back in 2003. Jack Ferdman and James play Sammy and George, Robbie's fellow band-mates. They are like the two stooges with their funny one liners. They use their terrific voices with Adam in "Today You Are a Man" about a bar mitzvah. Jack shows off his voice in "Single" where they get drunk at a bar. Jack Ferdman is a hoot as Sammy. He wears a seagull style rock singer wig and is a topnotch comedic actor who I first reviewed in Brighton Beach Memoirs. Sammy who is a bit of a schlep, has great hang dog expressions and talks about working at Orange Julius for the rest of his life if the band doesn't succeed. He gets to sing a duet with Danielle Naughler who plays Holly, Julia's cousin, in the romantic ballad "Right in Front of Your Eyes" about falling in love with each other again which sounds like Girls Just Want to Have Fun. She first dances with men in their tuxedos and then with Jack. A funny bit in the song comes when he opens his jacket wearing a t-shirt say stupid on it and Danielle wears one saying I'm with stupid received many laughs. Danielle does a dynamite job in her solo which stops the show at the end of Act 1 called "Saturday Night in the City where she and the cast sing and dance like YMCA. She, Brittney and Clare Lukaczyn as Angie, Julia's mom, do a tremendous job in "Pop the Question in the first act which starts off as a trio and becomes a group dance number. They dance like the Supremes. I last reviewed Danielle as Minnie Fay in "Hello Dolly" last summer at Reagle Players. James is a fantastic dancer and vocalist and is a hoot as the glitzy, tres gay member of the band, a Boy George type. He gets to solo on George's Prayer where he does a take off on the Seder prayer in Yiddish singing the Amen and obtains many laughs.

The two people who aren't well liked by the audience because of their cadlike qualities are Robbie and Julia's fiancees. Dan Tracy as Glen has a funny song "All About the Green" where he sings about his love of money and wall street trading. He opens the second act with this song, selling it with his terrific tenor voice. I last reviewed Dan in "High School Musical 2" last year. Dan, Adam and the chorus do a topnotch dance to this song with huge dollar signs on the scrim in the background. Glenn steps out a lot on Julia during the show, is a conceited ass, has a roving eye and gets his just desserts from the Tina Turner impersonator.The trashy Linda is excellently played by Erin Thomas who is a hoot in "Linda's Letter" when she enters thru the audience, does a Marilyn Monroe type of pose with her bouquet and the wind blowing up her skirt and then does a sexy vamp dance in the second act trying to worm her way back into Robbie's life in "Let Me Come Home". She strips Robbie's shirt and shoes off and acts like a bitch to Julia when she wants to talk to Robbie. I last reviewed Erin as the stage manager for "Dreamgirls" back in 2006. Kudos to the whole cast on their excellent singing and dancing skills. So for a fun filled return to the 80's, be sure to catch "The Wedding Singer" in Foxboro. Tell them Tony sent you.

"The Wedding Singer" (6 - 15 August)
BAY COLONY PRODUCTIONS
@ Orpheum Theatre, 1 School Street, FOXBORO MA
1 (508)543-3324x6

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