Based on the hit 1998 movie of the same name, THE WEDDING SINGER is set to charm audiences throughout Australia in early 2022. Playing the role of Robby is Christian Charisiou in his breakout role. I caught up with Charisiou to hear his thoughts on the cast, what it means to him, and what audiences can expect when the show opens.
The movie of THE WEDDING SINGER is a popular movie from the late 90s, packed with nostalgia and warmth. It’s such a popular movie that it’s not surprising to find Christian Charisiou was a fan. “It’s an iconic movie, one of my favourites and a 90s favourite for many,” said Christian with a smile. “For a while I’ve been looking out for a part that I could really get into, and the part of Robbie leapt out at me more than anything else I was looking at. I’m absolutely overjoyed in so many ways that I get to play the part.”
Being such a well-known movie, many are familiar with Adam Sandler’s original portrayal. However, the last thing Charisiou wants to do is repeat what’s already been done. “Yes, the musical is based on the movie, but no one here is aiming to just redo the movie,” he explained. “Sure, Sandler originated the role, people know his portrayal, and there’s enough parts of the film that have made it into the musical that his performance has guided me a bit… plus I’ve seen the film enough times to be familiar with it! But I see Sandler’s role as more of a starting point. One thing that really appealed to me about the role was the fact I could really make it my own. The whole team has worked hard on making the musical different, adapting it to the stage, and I’ve been able to add my own style to it which I’ve really enjoyed.”
Knowing the movie, Christian Charisiou knows the part of Robbie well. Whilst that may have piqued his interest, he also found a bit of himself in the character. “I think everyone is a little bit Robbie!” he said with a laugh. “First of all, he’s a hopeless romantic, and I think a lot of people are, or at least like to think they are! It’s very much a normal human experience to want to find the right person, and to have the right people in your life, and his whole journey is about being true to what his hearts wants. Plus there’s a bit of a crazy streak in Robbie and I feel I get to let the crazy out of me a bit when I play him.” In fact, Charisiou believes that his connection with the character will add something to the show. “Most performers want to see themselves in their characters. It helps with connecting with your character, but I think it helps the audience connect with the character too. It makes the journey more human. As a performer I want to connect with the character, and I can do that with Robbie through his drama and through his humour.”
Whilst THE WEDDING SINGER is a comedy through and through, Charisiou insists that there’s still meaning to be found in it. “Sure, it’s a comedy at heart, and some of the personalities are overdone, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t meaning and connection to be found. Most of the characters are on a journey of finding love and learning that love isn’t always as it seems. The show illustrates that people should follow love if it feels right, not just in the romantic sense of love but in the way we connect with people in general,” he explained. “The characters see the worst and best of love but find that what they end up with is true to their authentic selves, not who others want them to be or anything like that. I guess it also reminds people that lessons in like and love can be very hard but are always very worthwhile.”
The cast and crew of THE WEDDING SINGER is filled with talented and experienced individuals, and Christian is quick to heap praise on the people he works with. “Everyone is just amazing. I am almost taken back by how talented everyone I work with is and how much they’re all giving to this show.” He goes on to explain that of equal importance of connection to a character, there needs to be connection between everyone involved. “I think the moment you can tell that everyone is a good fit comes more from when you notice something lacking. Someone from the cast or crew then comes up with an idea that straight away feels right, and you work it in and can see it in action and how good it really does work. There’s a strong sense of togetherness amongst the creatives as well and that’s always really nice to have.”
THE WEDDING SINGER tours Australia in 2022, showing in Sydney’s State Theatre from January 5th through 23rd, Melbourne’s Arts Centre from January 27th to February 13th, and His Majesty’s Theatre in Perth from February 24th. Tickets and more information available from The Wedding Singer website.