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The Wedding Singer

a Musical Comedy
by Chad Beguelin (book and lyrics), Matthew Sklar (music), Tim Herlihy (book)

COMPANY : Atlanta Lyric Theatre
VENUE : Jennie T. Anderson Theatre-Cobb Civic Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 5445

SHOWING : February 08, 2019 - February 24, 2019



"The Wedding Singer" takes us back to a time when hair was big, greed was good, collars were up and a wedding singer might just be the coolest guy in the room. Based on the hit Adam Sandler movie, The Wedding Singer’s sparkling new score does for the ‘80s what "Hairspray" did for the ‘60s. Just say yes to the most romantic musical in twenty years. It’s 1985, and rock star wannabe, Robbie Hart, is New Jersey’s favorite wedding singer. He’s the life of the party until his own fiancée leaves him at the altar. Shot through the heart, Robbie makes every wedding as disastrous as his own. Enter Julia, a winsome waitress who wins his affection. As luck would have it, Julia is about to be married to a Wall Street shark, and, unless Robbie can pull off the performance of a decade, the girl of his dreams will be gone forever.

Director Jessica DeMaria
Linda Alison Brannon
Ensemble Aaron Carter
Ensemble Fenner Eaddy
Ensemble Avery Gillham
Glen Maxim Gukhman
Ensemble Nolan Martin
Ensemble Gia Nappo
George J. Koby Parker
Sammy Skye Passmore
Robbie Chase Peacock
Angie Lilliangina Quinones
Ensemble Hayden Rowe
Ensemble Kari Twyman
Ensemble Jody Woodruff
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A Wedding Band
by playgoer
Monday, February 18, 2019
Atlanta Lyric Theatre is positioning "The Wedding Singer" to be a tribute to the 1980’s. Does it succeed? Partially. Some of Emmie Phelps Thompson’s costumes are quite good. Others are stodgy or ill-fitting or just plain unattractive, regardless of period. Elisa Bierschenk’s wigs are largely poofy and permed, conforming to the period, but lead Chase Peacock is given mullet extensions that look obviously like extensions, and CJ Babb in the ensemble is allowed to wear a man bun, totally bringing his ensemble character out of period.

Jessica DeMaria has directed the show to have a good flow, letting the many pieces of Lee Shiver-Cerone’s set design move about with brisk efficiency. Sections of the back wall, with its squiggled, lighted squares giving a period "pop," open to allow a bandstand to move on and off and to show various second floor locales. Ricardo Aponte’s choreography also helps to keep the eye moving with lots of activity. Ben Rawson’s lighting design, however, tends to use murky illumination and lots of swirling, color-changing effects that obscure the choreography going on in the semi-darkness.

Performances are good throughout. Chase Peacock gets to show off his guitar-playing skills and deliciously potent vocals as Robbie Hart, while Rosa K. Campos provides a sweet voice and good energy as Julia Sullivan, the girl we know he’ll eventually end up with. Alison Brannon Wilhoit is also excellent as his Madonna-esque girlfriend Linda, who leaves him at the altar, and Katherine Michelle Tanner is a delight as his grandmother Rosie. Maxim Gukhman gives an appropriately sleazy edge to Glen Guglia, Julia’s boyfriend at the start of the show. As Robbie’s band mates, the unrecognizable J. Koby Parker is terrific as George, and Skye Passmore is more than passable as Sammy. Of the principals, only Audrey Layne Crocker disappoints as Julia’s girlfriend Holly. She plays the role as if she’s a standard musical comedy lead instead of a quirky sidekick.

Music director Paul Tate gets good vocals out of the cast, although sound tends toward the loud. This is supposed to be the 1980’s, after all, and the music is all rock-inflected. There is palpable energy throughout, although some of the ladies’ high kicks seem more effortful than effortless. There is some fine ensemble work, with Avery Gillham and Fenner Eaddy killing their dance moves, and the cast members playing Las Vegas celebrity look-alikes get a special opportunity to impress.

"The Wedding Singer" isn’t the best musical out there, but it ably translates the popular movie into a tuneful stage musical. Chad Beguelin’s lyrics move things along on top of Matthew Sklar’s catchy music, and the songs mesh nicely with the book, co-written by Tim Herlihy and Mr. Beguilin. Jessica DeMaria and the resources of Atlanta Lyric Theatre have created a production that conveys the songs and story with clarity and energy. It’s not the best-looking musical the company has produced, but it certainly holds its own in comparison to previous Atlanta Lyric productions. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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