The Wedding Singer: The Musical. Book by Chad Beguelin and Tim Herlihy. Music by Matthew Sklar. Lyrics by Chad Beguelin. Directed by Matt McCoy. Bay Area Musicals, Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103.
Based on the highly successful 1998 Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore film, the 2006 musical fared less well opening in April and closing on New Year’s Eve. The film, set in 1985, revolves around Robbie Hart, a nice guy with a broken heart who’s stuck in one of the most romantic jobs in the world, a wedding singer. He loses all hope when he is abandoned at the altar by his fiancé. He meets a young woman named Julia, who enlists his help to plan her wedding. It contained a jukebox mix of mid 80’s pop/rock from a who’s-who of bands. It would take a miracle for an original stage score to match such a history.
The musical, written by the duo of Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar, was received with mixed reviews but does contain just enough pizazz to make for a whimsically nostalgic evening at the theatre. Matt McCoy and his crew at Bay Area Musicals deserves high fives for mounting this production which looks fantastic (costumes by Brooke Jennings, wigs by Jackie Dennis), sounds great (Jon Gallo, Music Director) and utilizes an enthusiastic and hardworking cast of over two-dozen very capable performers.
The plot is formulaic romantic comedy circa ‘forever’. Shlumpy loser gets dumped, meets girl of dreams who’s engaged to be imminently married, pursues said girl and voila, happy ending. Its formulaic because it works so often and is so easily sympathetic to large audiences. Zac Shuman is perfectly cast as leader of the wedding band; a hopeless romantic, he lives with his granny and is of course hurt and stunned when he’s unceremoniously dumped by his fiancé at their wedding. Shuman has a nice voice and the right touch of ‘wronged everyman’ to carry the show.
The supporting leads are all strong as well; Linda (Karylyn Dowd), Robbie’s ex has a show-stealing number in the second act when she tries to reconcile their relationship (“Let Me Come Home”), Jenny Angel plays Julia with heartfelt earnestness, Alissa Sanchez is a comic gem as the floozy Holly, Jepoy Ramos over-the-top as the gay bandmate Glen and Max Thorne is silly as the clownish Sammy.
The musical numbers pop, including the show opening “It’s Your Wedding Day”, “Casualty of Love” and “All About the Green”. The choreography by Leslie Waggoner is a joy, enhanced by McCoy’s staging direction. BAM has done a stellar job of mounting musicals, paring them down to a manageable and efficient unit to maximum affect. The Wedding Singer: The Musical is an infectious romantic comedy that shines in BAM’s hands.
Performances run through March 17th, 2018 www.bamsf.org 415.340.2207