Dallas — Put on your miniskirt and skinny tie and moonwalk on down to Theatre Three for a good time celebration of ’80s music and funky fashion in The Wedding Singer. Favorite get-ups on opening night were dad’s white dress shirt with sleeves rolled up and knotted at the waist, over all species of animal prints on Spandex pants.
Seems like only yesterday we watched Adam Sandler woo Drew Barrymore in the 1998 film The Wedding Singer. Set in a romanticized 1980s with no hint of AIDS or the Cold War, the movie was a popular heartwarming story of love conquering sleazy, materialistic ambition.
Ditto the 2006 Broadway musical version of The Wedding Singer, with songs by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin and a book by Tim Herlihy, who wrote the screenplay. Director Bruce R. Coleman, a bandana tied thigh-high in honor of all things ’80s, makes it a fun night of synthesized hard rock, big hair and choreographer Kelly McCain’s hilarious communal line dances executed by a high-energy cast.
Coleman also designed the fabulously natty and sexy ’80s costumes for the production, from the skimpy men’s disco briefs to the grand collection of sweetheart wedding dresses and tight bustiers for the glamour gals in the cast.
The show follows the movie’s story closely. Heartthrob Cameron Cobb is a sweet-faced and hopelessly romantic Robbie Hart, a wanna-be rock star staying alive as a wedding singer in a New Jersey reception hall, and still creating a thrill singing “Love Is What I Do.” When Robbie gets dumped at the altar by lascivious Linda, played by pelvis-thrusting, throaty mezzo Samantha Padilla, he remembers Julia (a touchingly bright-voiced Katie Moyes Williams), the pretty, sympathetic waitress at the wedding hall who loved his singing.
Heartbroken Robbie is ready to collapse in a dumpster in one sweetly silly scene, but Julia and his bandmates get him on his feet. His buddy Sammy (a gloriously goofy Greg Lush) is sweet on Julia’s flirty, Madonna-wannabe cousin and fellow waitress Holly. Shapely Nikki Cloer’s Holly vamps it into the upper registers in all her big songs, and steals the show as a cross between a Hooters waitress and a one-man woman with an attitude.
Alex Heika is a hilarious and alluring George, Robbie’s sexually ambiguous lead guitar and Boy George look-alike. His duet with Robbie’s potty-mouthed Grandma Rose (a game and hip-shakin’ Lois Leftwich) is classic kitsch.
Lovable loser Robbie hangs on through Julia’s tangled engagement to Wall Street jerk-off Glen Guglia played by buff and overbearing baritone Jacob Lewis. Love survives a wild wedding party in Las Vegas, where cast members credibly and comically cartoon their way into a slew of ’80s celebrities, including Billy Idol, Cyndi Lauper, many-shoed Imelda Marcos and even a rosy-cheeked Ronald Reagan and his red-suited squeeze.
The entertaining score, delivered with upbeat style by music director Mark Mullino and a five-member orchestra, rocks along to the beat of ’80s-era songs. Is that a Van Halen riff moving those sharp disco dancers to such smooth moves in Theatre Three’s intimate arena stage? Remember that spin turn?