Conceived by: Nancy Cassaro
Director: Tony Lauria
Reviewer: Jamie Rosler
Whether you’ve been to a stereotypical Italian-American wedding, or only imagined how amazingly, hilariously painful it could be, you will have a blast at the wedding of Valentina Lynne Vitale and Anthony Angelo Nunzio—Tony and Tina, played by Joe Ferraro and Marilia Angeline.
As an interactive theatrical experience, the success of this production hinges largely on the commitment of the actors, and this cast was flawless. The groom’s family, the bride’s family, the caterer and his family, the friends, exes, and priest, with all of their ridiculous personae and back stories, carry you from the ceremony to the reception through to the after party, with such ease of character, and so much familiarity that you can’t help but become invested in all of the wedding drama that unfolds around you.
Where all of this drama unfolds—how the audience encounters it in the venue—is as crucial to the complete experience of the wedding as the cast’s inhabiting of their rôles. Director Tony Lauria did a phenomenal job mapping out the night’s key plot points, turning the downstairs of a Times Square tourist trap into Vinnie Black’s Coliseum catering hall. There was a service station from which Mr. Black’s family of cater waiters served your main course from the Buffet of Love. A long hallway off one side of the room was used wonderfully when there were fights among the wedding party and someone had to storm away, or be chased out of the building. Three or four big screen TVs are strategically placed around the room, exhibiting whatever scene the videographer’s camera might be pointing to at that moment. This production also uses social media to its advantage, encouraging wedding guests to take pictures, and tweet them.
Costume and scenic design, by Rosemary Keough and Billy Hipkins, and Nehprii Amenii, respectively, make for a perfectly tacky and complete zebra print theme. The bridesmaid dresses are red and black zebra stripes, while the reception room is accented with the more classic black and white. Tina’s dress at the ceremony is long, puffy, and cumbersome. Upon entering the reception room, we see that most of the bottom has been removed and now she’s free to party in her white cocktail wedding dress. And party she does!
Some minor drawbacks do exist in this otherwise excessively enjoyable production. With the ceremony taking place in the auditorium of a high school, there are some technical difficulties, especially with the microphone employed by the priest. It’s not insurmountable, but when combined with a faulty spotlight, it’s noticeable, if quickly forgiven, and likely forgotten. Also—maybe this is just my mother speaking—the price of the ticket is a touch prohibitive for most people, and most people are exactly who would enjoy this show. It includes not one drink, and there were promises of wedding cake but I never saw it served.
Be warned, there are wedding dances of all stripes, and you will be brought onto the dance floor at least once by at least one person. Embrace it, have a good time, and be happy it’s not the family you’ll be going home to. Ultimately, of course, this is all about love, even if that gets a bit lost in the drunken, pill-popping, in-law baiting, choreographed dance routine frenzy of a night. It is a wedding, after all.
Photo Credit: Michel Delsol |Runs until: open-ended