I’m a huge fan of the 1998 movie The Wedding Singer starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, so I knew I had to see the stage production at Old Log Theatre. With music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin, and book by Beguelin and Tim Herlihy, The Wedding Singer received 5 Tony Award Nominations in 2006, including Best Musical. It’s clear that the stage version is not trying to be the movie, but it pays a respectful homage to the film.
If you’re not familiar with the show, here’s the Cliff’s notes version. Robbie Hart (Eric Morris) has rock star dreams but, for the time being, settles for being the town’s star wedding singer. He meets Julia Sullivan (Libby Anderson), who’s a server at one of his gigs. They have an instant connection, but alas, Robbie is marrying Linda (Kaylyn Forkey) and Julia’s been hoping her boyfriend of 4 years, Glen Gulia (Philip Matthews), will propose any day. Colorful characters abound, starting with Robbie’s band: goofy, loveable, boy(ish) George played by Caleb Fritz Craig and kind of skeezy but kind of silly Mathias Becker. Carolyn Schmitz plays Julia’s cousin Holly, who spends the show channeling her inner Madonna.
Did I forgot to mention that this all takes place in the 80s? Prepare yourself for big hair, wild clothes and killer music.
Linda stands up Robbie on their wedding day, sending Robbie into a dark depression and bringing out the hilariously angsty “Somebody Kill Me.” It’s also the perfect use of the television that graces the top of the set, as it displays that this scene takes place in “Robbie’s Dark & Depressing Room.” As Robbie comes out of his funk, he starts to spend more time with Julia and then falls for her. Since she’s with Glen who’s rich and handsome, Robbie attempts to reevaluate his life to see how could make more money as a way to potentially impress Julia. Eric is so charmingly dorky as Robbie, staying true to the sassy but naive nature of Adam Sandler’s character from the film.
Philip’s Glen is spot on, from his brick-sized, new fangled cellular phone to his popped lapel collar. He’s the perfect kind of antagonist that you love to hate.
There’s also Melissa Hart as Rosie, Robbie’s grandmother who’s spunky as all get out and so completely endearing. In all honesty, the entire cast and crew is awesome, from singing voices to dancing. The dancing is where I have to hand it to Regina Peluso and her fantastic choreography. Her pieces flow so well, and she takes full advantage of the skilled dancers to the benefit of the audience. Director R. Kent Knutson has just the right vision for this show and quite obviously makes it extremely fun for everyone involved, including puffy sleeves and high-waisted pants from costume designer Sara Wilcox and big hair and side ponytails from Hair-O-Smith hair stylists.
If you haven’t seen the movie, you’ll love the stage production regardless. Find out what “church tongue” is, enjoy performances from fake Billy Idol and fake Cyndi Lauper, and you should see it if only to relive the 80s for a couple hours (because let’s be honest, two hours is plenty for that). This is truly a delightful romantic comedy with an 80s twist that everyone’s sure to enjoy.
Also consider enjoying Date Night at Cast & Cru in the same building as the theater. Every Wednesday for $20, the restaurant features a 3-course seasonal menu. They also offer a late night happy hour after evening performances and other specials.
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