Tuesday, August 8, 2017
"You need to write a review," Jocelyn Murphy, the associate editor of The Free Weekly, said. "You've had so many good things to say about this play."
The musical in question is "The Wedding Singer," wrapping up this weekend at Arkansas Public Theatre in Rogers. Like my first exposure to "A Christmas Story," I was introduced to this tale on the APT stage, not in the movie. Cody Robinson will always be "my" wedding singer. And I love that!
‘The Wedding Singer’
WHEN — 8 p.m. Friday & Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; final weekend
WHERE — Arkansas Public Theatre at the Victory in downtown Rogers
COST — $23-$35
INFO — 631-8988
I didn't love the idea of the show. I strongly dislike "rom-coms," and I'm not really in the mood for happy endings. At the first dress rehearsal, when I saw the show to write about it, I focused on the moments I enjoyed, not the storyline:
• Anna Knight as the bride in the opening number.
• Kailee Mathews as Julia when she and Robinson sing "Awesome."
• In the McDonough wedding scene, Robbie letting out all his anger and pain in a song titled "Casualty of Love."
• Sarah Mouritsen blowing the roof off the Victory with "Saturday Night in the City."
• The whole ensemble -- featuring APT newcomer Brandtly Wheeler -- opening Act II with a huge Broadway dance number, "Nothing But the Green."
• Everything about Ty Volz and Michael Myers as the wedding singer's backup band.
Watching the actors, not the play, made me less cranky about the whole premise of love.
On Sunday, I saw the show again, this time with my sister -- who knew the movie -- and my daughter, who is developmentally delayed. And this time, we all loved it.
News to me, the music is not the same as in the movie -- but no community theater could afford the royalties for songs by the Police, Culture Club, Billy Idol, David Bowie and Elvis Costello. Instead, the play uses original tunes, written for the Broadway show, that sound like the '80s, and my sister -- the one who has been all over the country to see Adam Ant -- said it was well done. She wasn't disappointed.
My daughter loves musicals. It got her clap and coo of approval.
And I loved seeing the cast members -- who were struggling a little during the first dress -- shining and confident, dancing like they'd been born doing it and singing their hearts out. I loved the fact that the chorus came in all shapes and ages. I loved the interaction between various players, loved watching them encourage and bolster each other.
Face it, I love community theater. Touring productions are great, offering a taste of Broadway to those who can't make it to New York often enough. But I'd rather watch the people I know doing things they do so well -- or things they've never done before. (Have you seen Kathy McClure rap?)
You should introduce yourself to Arkansas Public Theatre, about to start Season 32. Granted, I remember when it was a little baby theater, doing shows wherever someone would open the door. (I even designed lights for "Tribute," a show at the cool old hotel that is now Haas Hall in Rogers. Every time we plugged the lights in, we prayed we wouldn't burn the building down!) So I guess there's a certain pride in seeing Rogers Little Theater all grown up, with a beautiful venue at the Victory, selling out shows and getting standing ovations. Next up is "The Rocky Horror Show" Sept. 15-Oct. 1. Hope to see you there!
NAN What's Up on 08/08/2017
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