Thursday, June 27, 2013

Slow Burn: The Wedding Singer (reviews)

Slow Burn Theatre Company opened its production of The Wedding Singer on June 21, 2013.
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. Only trouble is 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. With a brand new score that pays loving homage to the pop songs of the 1980′s, 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.
Patrick Fitzwater directed a cast that included Clay Cartland, Courtney Poston, Nicole Piro, Rick Hvizdak, Conor Walton, Domenic Servido, Penny Mandel, Erica Mendez. Rick Peña, Jerel Brown, Ben Solmor, Jonathan Yepez, Lauren Bell, Sabrina Gore, Kaitlyn O’Neill and Alisha Todd.

Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
What this silly smile of a show undeniably lacks in polish and consistency, its cast makes up for with grinning enthusiasm and goofball abandon under Patrick Fitzwater’s direction and choreography. As an entry in the romantic comedy genre, you might yearn for it to touch your heart a bit more, but it succeeds as a gentle hoot.
Fitzwater knows the piece’s underlying virtue is that decent everyday people are pursuing dreams. They may be modest, simple dreams of love and success, but they are so universal that an audience is charmed by their purity.
Fitzwater has a gift for casting and then leading that cast to solid work. His best call here was Cartland... He seems like the genial guy in the apartment down the hall, but he exudes the sense that whacked-out goofiness could erupt at any moment... He’s also blessed with a strong, warm and supple voice that doesn’t call attention to just how well he has mastered the material.
Poston proved she has a terrific show voice as one of the twins in Side Show that. Here, she doesn’t score as strongly (well, the songs themselves don’t give her much to work with), but as the ‘80s version of the wounded wholesome girl next door she caresses her songs with such loving affection that she wins you over every time she walks on stage.
Conor Walton is delightful as the Boy George wannabe keyboard player.... Domenic Servido isn’t as vibrant as the Jersey Shore representative who probably wants to be Eddie Van Halen, but he gets by. Penny Mandel gets a couple of fun numbers as Robbie’s grandmother including a modified rap number. Piro is a stitch as the slutty Linda who appears in a frilly wedding dress and biker boots. The standout is the fiery Erica Mendez as Julia’s over-sexed cousin Holly who tries to seduce Robbie. Mendez frequently scorches the stage, especially with her intro to the first act closer, “Saturday Night in The City.”
The Wedding Singer is just a calorie-less glass of iced down Crystal Light, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need for a warm summer solstice night.
Slow Burn Theatre Company  presents The Wedding Singer at the West Boca Performing Arts Theatre through June 30, 2013.

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