BWW Review: THE WEDDING SINGER at Cultural Arts Playhouse
Teased hair, neon mesh and parachute pants galore - The Wedding Singer at the Cultural Arts Playhouse in Syosset is a jubilant trip back to the '80s.
This production - based on the 1998 Adam Sandler film - boasts animated choreography, radiant costumes and a stellar cast of performers young and old under the direction of the multi-talentEd Ryan Lane.
Like the film, the show follows the story of Robbie Hart - a wedding singer and guitarist who is set to marry his raunchy fiance Linda. After his heart is crushed while being left at the altar, he strikes up a relationship with Julia, a cocktail waitress, who is eventually engaged to her own problematic partner, Wall-Streeter Glenn.
Mike Visconti triumphantly leads the cast as Robbie with his strong vocals, perfectly suited for the rock and pop score, and genuine charisma. Paired with the very talented Ashley Lane as Julia, the two exhibit radiant chemistry - most evident in the adorable "Grow Old With You" in act two - and set the bar for superb production. Both roles are double cast with Jared Grossman as Robbie and Sarah Berger as Julia on alternate performances.
They are joined by an equally talented group of eccentric characters. Mike Staub makes an impression as Robbie's supportive, yet slightly half-baked friend and wedding band bassist Sammy. He is often joined by audience favorite Jojo Minasi as the flamboyant George, who plays the keyboard in the band. Rounding out the leads are Catherine Gerbasi as the sultry Holly, boasting a killer belt, Jennifer Demopoulos as Robbie's hilarious grandmother, Amanda Mac as the seductive Linda and AiDan Wheeler as the handsome, yet conceited and money-hungry Glenn. In this particular performance Mr. Wheeler was understudying for Zachary Levy.
The production also features a terrific ensemble that executes the choreography, vocals and array of character performances in an expert fashion - especially in the electric opening "It's Your Wedding Day" and the hysterical "Casualty of Love."
If this production is any indication, you will not want to miss the rest of the Cultural Arts Playhouse's season, which continues with "Carrie" and "Fiddler on the Roof."
"The Wedding Singer" is presented by the Cultural Arts Playhouse through September 24. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call (516) 694-3330 or visit cap.booktix.com
Music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin and book by Beguelin and Herlihy. Directed and choreographed by Ryan Lane, Stage Managed by Alexis Drennan, Set Design by Thomas McKenna, Lighting Design by Tony Frangipane, Costumes by Carmela Newman, Musical Direction by Gina Salvia, Dance Captains Jojo Minasi and Adriana M. Scheer. Special thanks to Jared Glazier and Jaxon Hickey.
Starring: Jared Grossman/Michael Visconti as Robbie Hart, Sarah Berger/Ashley Lane as Julia Sullivan, Catherine Gerbasi as Holly, Mike Staub (u/s Jared Grossman) as Sammy, Jennifer Demopoulos as Rosie, Jojo Minasi as George, Zachary Levy (u/s AiDan Wheeler) as Glenn Guglia, Amanda Mac (u/s Adriana M. Scheer) as Linda, Diane Marmann (u/s Carleen Maro) as Angie/Nancy Reagan, Danielle Khoury as Bride/Twinkie Woman, Evan Torres as Groom/Bad Haircut Guy, AiDan Wheeler as Mookie/Billy Idol, Adriana M. Scheer as Crystal/Tina Turner, Keith Jones as Donny, Danielle Ducey as Tiffany/Sideburns Lady/Cyndi Lauper, Matthew Gibbons as Waiter/Priest, Warren Tierney as Waiter/Ricky, Anja Jackowski as Glenn's Mistress, Janet Sarmas as Glenn's Secretary/Imelda Marcos, Jackie Masse as Glenn's Mistress/Waitress, Kevin White as David Fonda/Bum, Steven Rodriguez as Shane, Anna Delgado as Donatella/Waitress, Chrissy Ganci as Clerk/Waitress, Leanne Haddock as Airplane Agent/Waitress, Darnell Dunkley as Mr. T, Frank Ambrosini as Ronald Reagan/Grandpa, Alex Dash/Pierce Wheeler as JarEd Shapiro.
Photo Credit: Diane Marmann