Rock the Bells
By Darcie J. Flansburg
The ’80s are back. Not only in fashion, but also on stage.
Act One Community Theater presents The Wedding Singer, running through March 6 in Temecula.
You remember the Adam Sandler movie, don’t you? The Wedding Singer is the story of Robbie Hart, a rock-star wannabe who still lives in his grandmother’s basement. He is also New Jersey’s favorite wedding singer.
Robbie is the life of the party until his fianceé, Linda, leaves him at the altar. Shot through the heart, Robbie makes every wedding as disastrous as his own.
But love will win him over again.
“Working with this extremely talented cast and crew has been such a wonderful experience,” says Musical Director Sharon Duchi. “Our rehearsals have been filled with laughter, and the show is a tribute to their hard work and camaraderie throughout the run.”
“It’s tons of fun. And it’s non-stop. From start to finish it is high-energy and there isn’t a boring moment to be found,” says Director Paul Kehler. “I have sat through it probably 30 times now and I still laugh and tap my feet to the music. It’s quick and it is truly enjoyable—no doubt about it.”
Kehler usually chooses shows that are less traditional—shows that allow the director to really make choices that affect the way the show flows and how it conveys its message to the audience.
“With The Wedding Singer there isn’t room for too much directorial interpretation—it’s all about fun and having a good time,” Kehler says. “I did, however, take some liberties with how the scenes flow and I wanted to bump up the ’80s nostalgia as much as possible.”
Audience members will also take part in the show.
“They will play the roles of the wedding/reception attendees, and while they do not need to know lines or sing, they will be in for a few surprises from the cast,” he says. “The audience members in these seats will also be served wedding cake, punch and coffee. Overall, I can’t think of a show that has been more fun to direct.”
George C. Ortiz (choreography) and Matthew McGill (lighting) round out the talented production team.
“I am extremely thrilled to be a part of this team,” Kehler says. “The rest trickles down from there. What makes our production stand out is really the ideas of the production team being executed well by the performers. That is the recipe for success with this production.”
The cast is lead by Zack Wolfe (Robbie), Rainie Seibold (Julia), Nick Kalantar (Sammy), Erika Zach (Holly) and Travis Lyon (George) and supported by Mickie Grunwold, Justin Duchi, Joshua Pudliner and Sharon Duchi, as well as a company of fantastic singers and dancers.
Another thing that makes this production special, according to Kehler, is the theater.
“The Act One Theater is a fantastic venue for intimate theater. Even large, high-energy shows like The Wedding Singer can allow the audience to feel as if it’s right in the center of everything that’s going on as opposed to having to view it as an isolated spectator,” he says. “The space really allows you to be drawn in.”
Of course, the space does present it’s own special set of difficulties as well. “But we have allow those challenges to push us in the direction of finding original and creative ways to stage the show,” Kehler adds. “It’s gonna be radical.”
The Wedding Singer at Act One Community Theater, 26111 Ynez Rd., Suite B-9, Temecula, (951) 296-0043; www.act1theaterarts.com. Feb. 24-March 6. Shows Thurs-Sat 8PM, Sun 2PM. General admission $15-$25.