Also on Stage

The Wedding Singer

Some decades are easy to identify at a glance. Once you see a mobile phone the size of a shoebox, for instance, you know you're in the 1980s. Well, that phone and lots of other '80s detritus are on display in The Wedding Singer, now being produced by Mercury Summer Stock. This song-heavy adaptation of the Adam Sandler flick features music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin, and a book by Beguelin and Tim Herlihy. Of course, the trouble with adapting an Adam Sandler movie is that you don't have Adam Sandler to carry the comedy load. And that becomes evident as Will Sanborn takes on the unenviable task of the title role as Robbie Hart. He's a singer who's been jilted at the altar by his party-hearty fiancée Linda (a sizzling Michelle Ireton), and starts taking out his frustrations on his two band members and any of the subsequent weddings he's booked into. Sanborn has a nice, boyish quality and sings reasonably well, but his occasional attempts at channeling a Sandler-esque delivery fall short. However, there are other cast members who pick up the slack. One of Robbie's band members is Sammy, a hefty fellow played to the hilt by Dan DiCello. And the other guy is (Boy) George, a flamingly gay Brian Marshall who shows off a rather coquettish falsetto singing voice in "George's Prayer." After Robbie's dreams are shattered, he falls in love with wedding reception waitress Julia (Melissa Sills in an endearing and very well-sung turn). But she's engaged to marry Glen (Jimmy Ferko), a junk bond broker who covets only money. The stereotypes abound as the play lurches from one derivative meme to the next. But several of the songs are quite catchy, such as Robbie's lovesick anthem "Casualty of Love" and Glen's tribute to bucks in "All About the Green." The large and pumped-up ensemble performs admirably under the guidance of director and choreographer Pierre-Jacques Brault and music director Eddie Carney. In short, the show steamrolls over all the material's inherent bumps and turns this sack of fluff into an enjoyable (if overlong, at two-and-a-half hours) summertime fling.

Through August 16, at Notre Dame College, 1857 South Green Rd., South Euclid, 216-771-5862, mercurysummerstock.com.

About The Author

Christine Howey

Christine Howey has been reviewing theater since 1997, first at Cleveland Free Times and then for other publications including City Pages in Minneapolis, MN and The Plain Dealer. Her blog, Rave and Pan, also features her play reviews. Christine is a former stage actor and director, primarily at Dobama Theatre...
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