By Faith Smith
“The Wedding Singer” takes us back to a time when hair was big, greed was good, collars were up and a wedding singer might just be the coolest guy in the room. Since “The Phantom of the Opera,” “The Wedding Singer” is the most romantic musical in twenty years.
It is 1985 and rock star wannabe, Robbie Hart (Nicholas Sweet, “The Fantasticks”), is New Jersey’s favorite wedding singer. He is the life of the party until his own fiancée leaves him at the altar. Shot through the heart, Hartmakes every wedding as disastrous as his own.
Enter Julia Sullivan (Abigail Hines, “Dog Sees God”), a winsome waitress who wins his affection. As luck would have it, Sullivan is engaged to a Wall Street shark. Unless Hart can pull off the performance of a decade, the girl of his dreams will be gone forever.
The characters, sparkling musical score and comedy which is sure to leave you with a stomach ache mark some big shoes to fill. Yet, the SUNY Oswego’s theatre department has once again stunned us all.
Getting into the core of the performance, the actors of the two lead roles, Sweet and Hines, had profound and distinct voices to add to the impact of the show.
Harmonies were impeccable, especially in “Come Out of the Dumpster,” and the entire cast gave each song their all.
Dancing was synchronized to the best of the actors’ abilities. It was evident that a lot of practice was put into their performance.
The set design was incredibly accurate. The best props were in Hart’s bedroom. The wall of band posters, a hot water heater, a queen bed that vibrated and acted as a comedic element throughout the show and the dumpster, of course.
Transitions between scenes were smooth and the lighting was phenomenal.
There were a few minor blips with the microphone sound here and there. However, the actors did a wonderful job and powered through every technical error.
The setlist was similar to the original musical soundtrack. Rumor has it, the cast even wrote an original song, which they performed each night.
Costumes were perfectly accurate with each individual character. Hart’s iconic Van Halen t-shirt was seen on Sweet when his ex-fiancée, Linda (Claire Bosley, “A Play Where Nothing Happens”), dumped him. Then again when Linda decided to wear his shirt later in the show. The shirt was a symbol of Hart’s personality.
It was clear that the audience was in awe of all the wedding dresses throughout the show, especially Sullivan’s wedding dress at the end, but Linda’s white dress in her first scene was a tough one to beat.
The saddest scene of the entire musical was the well-known window scene, where one special someone went to confess their feelings and their soul was crushed by the sight of the others’ happiness in one fell swoop.
Tied for the funniest moment of the show was when Linda was shown singing “A Note From Linda” and also when Hart sang “Somebody Kill Me.” If there was a laughing meter in the audience, it definitely broke in those moments. Edgiest at best.
Another tie for the best moment was when Holly (Rachel Leotta, “Fun Home”) performed a solo song and dance, ending the first act of the musical with a splash of surprise and then, of course, when the audience got what they wanted and the most wanted “ship” could finally get their very own wedding, which Hart would sing at.
Overall, the performance was wonderful and lively. The cast, crew, pit, directors and organizers should be proud.
Photo by Mackenzie Shields