THE WEDDING SINGER
When: 7:30 p.m. March 3, 4 and 5, and 2 p.m. March 6
Where: North Central College’s Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville
Cost: $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors
Contact: 630-637-7469 or visit northcentralcollege.edu/showtix
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
A beloved romantic comedy takes the stage when North Central College presents the musical production of “The Wedding Singer.”
Based on the 1998 Adam Sandler film, the musical takes place in 1985 New Jersey, where wedding singer Robbie Hart dreams of being a rock star and marrying his girlfriend Linda.
After she leaves him at the altar, he goes into a deep depression and wreaks havoc at weddings instead of singing at them. He begins to recover with the help of his friends, including sweet waitress Julia, for whom he is developing feelings. But — bummer in the summer — she’s involved with a Wall Street jerk.
“The Wedding Singer” ran on Broadway for 285 performances in 2006 under the direction of Tony Award-winning director John Rando. The production was nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score.
North Central’s production is directed, choreographed, staged and coordinated entirely by senior students majoring in theater. A year ago, nine seniors picked the show they wanted to present, and then held auditions and rehearsals this school year.
Co-directing are Kaylee Oost of Plano and Aileen Rak of Shorewood. Sophomore Max DeTogne of Arlington Heights plays Robbie, and junior Kathryn Lepine of Naperville plays Julia.
Oost said the team picked “The Wedding Singer” because it was a fun, upbeat romantic comedy that showcased their individual talents. In particular, they wanted to spotlight the talents of senior Tommy Rivera-Vega, who is the choreographer.
“Because our team is really dynamic and talented, we narrowed our searches for musicals that exhibited great dance portions,” she said. “There’s a lot of dancing; it’s the ’80s. We wanted to showcase Tommy.”
Of course, getting the kids to dance like the ’80s has been another challenge.
“There’s a lot of modern dance moves still being placed within the choreography,” she said.
There are some variations from the movie. Sammy the limo driver from the movie is now a bass guitarist. Also, you’ll only hear two songs from the movie: “Somebody Kill Me” and “Grow Old with You.”
There are 18 cast members, and the ensembles players get to play multiple roles, she said. Some of the more interesting characters to turn up include ’80s icons Billy Idol, Cyndi Lauper, Mr. T., Tina Turner, Dolly Parton and Ronald Reagan.
“Robbie runs into all these impersonators in Las Vegas when he is running after Julia. He has a dream team trying to win her back,” she said. “One of the impersonators was supposed to be Imelda Marcos, but we changed it to Dolly Parton so more people would get the reference.”
“The whole experience of playing Robbie and going through the process he goes through is a treat,” said DeTogne. “The show is great; it’s very uplifting and has a lot of fun songs. It’s more of a musical than the movie.”
He said he tries to incorporate many of Sandler’s humor and mannerisms — like the way he emphasizes words to get a laugh — into his performance of Robbie. But he also has a lot of heart in his Hart.
“He’s just a generally nice guy. He loves the guitar and he listens to his grandma. He grew up with good morals, he’s a good guy.”
Oost says audience members can expect to be “blown away” by the choreography.
“It’s really tight and exclamatory,” she said. “It’s a pick-me-up musical and people will feel excited. It’s a feel-good musical; you can … enjoy what it is to be in love and go back to the ’80s and live your life carefree.”