Monday, June 24, 2013

Just a Singer in a Rock 'n' Roll Wedding Band


Everyone Loves a “Wedding Singer”

By Skip Sheffield

Low-budget magic continues through this Sunday, June 30 at West Boca Raton High School with the Slow Burn Theatre production of “Wedding Singer The Musical.”
“The Wedding Singer” was the slightest piffle of a 1996 Adam Sandler movie comedy.
“Wedding Singer the Musical’ is no deeper or more profound, but as performed by Slow Burn it has heart, chutzpah, and it is a heck of a lot of fun.
Robbie Hart (versatile Clay Cartland) is the wedding singer of the title.
No one sets out to be part of a “wedding band.” It’s one of those things that happens to young, struggling bands. Wedding receptions pay big bucks. In theory you take advantage of the opportunity to earn money attain more lofty goals, such as recording original music. In practice this rarely happens. Few things are as sad as an aging wedding band made up of middle-aged guys and girls who have given up on their dreams.
But as I stated, “Wedding Singer” is not profound or even poignant. It’s a comedy pure and simple, set in Ridgefield, NJ in 1985 at the peak of the big-hair boy-band era.
What makes “Wedding Singer” shine is its young, enthusiastic cast directed and choreographed by young, enthusiastic Patrick Fitzwater and backed by a note-perfect musical combo that is not too loud, not too soft.
The book of “Wedding Singer” by Chad Beguelin and Tim Herlihy with music and lyrics by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, reminds me for all the world of an updated Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney romantic comedy.
Clay Cartland is the Mickey Rooney-type striving but under-achieving young man Robbie Hart and winsome Courtney Poston is the downtrodden Judy Garland heroine, Julia Sullivan.
Julia is engaged to be married to the vain, greedy, unfaithful Wall Street shark Glen Gulia (Rick Hvizdak) but really she is destined to be with poor but true-blue Robbie Hart. It just takes two acts and a little under two hours for destiny to happen.
Playing Robbie’s band mates are Conor Walton as the flamboyant, way out of the closet George and Dominic Servidio as the mullet-haired bassist Sammy. The live onstage band led by music director Manny Schvartzman consists of Nick Trotogott, Rupert Ziawinski and Freg Chance.
Stand-out players include Nicole Piro as Robbie’s shallow, insincere fiancée Linda, Penny Mandel as Robbie’s rocking Grandma Rosie, Jerel Brown as a hilariously huge Tina Turner lookalike and Erica Mendez as the sexy, hot-to-trot Holly, who spurns the affections of sincere Sammy.
The musical score is so forgettable it is unlikely you will be humming a recognizable tune as you exit, but it sure is fun while it is happening.
Perhaps I am biased in favor of this merry romp, for I have played many a wedding reception and I know firsthand the pitfalls of performance. But it seemed like everyone in the audience got into the brash, goofy spirit of this show whether or not they have ever been part of this business called show.
Tickets are $20 students, $30 seniors and $35 general admission. Call 866-811-4111 or go to

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