By Darcie J. Flansburg
With all of its vocal training and acting conservatories, Temecula has quite the talent pool to choose from. And Act One Community Theatre offers an excellent venue for triple-threat thespians to showcase their talents.
Act One’s recent production of The Wedding Singer is another tribute to the company’s quality theatre.
Not only did the company choose a fun, catchy and clever show, director Paul Kehler cast a vocally capable and emotionally adept ensemble.
Like the film version, the musical follows wedding singer Robbie Hart, a wannabe rock star who, and at the start of the show, is left at the altar by his fiancée Linda.
But Hart will find love again in the future Mrs. Julia Gulia.
Zack Wolfe brought his own comedic flare to the lead role of Robbie Hart. It is easy to try and plagiarize Adam Sandler in this role, but Wolfe made the character his own. His facial expressions and physicality are priceless.
My one wish for Wolfe is that someone would have fixed his hair (somewhat) during intermission.
Erika Czach is reminiscent of a vocally capable, dancing Amy Poehler. Her part as Holly was spot on. Czach, like much of the cast, has the stuff of stardom. I hope she continues to use and explore her art on stage and beyond.
Rainie Lee Seibold was sweet and lovable as Robbie’s love interest, Julia. Seibold played the naivety and innocence of Julia to a T, and her ballads are just lovely.
Travis Lyon really owned the character of George. He is sassy and stylin‘; sweet and agile. He only need smile at the audience to get an affectionate giggle in return.
Shea Sailors rocked her song, “A Note from Linda.” Sailors gives the short, hilarious song some excellent flair. Not a moment is wasted.
Her second song, however, involves a bit too much gyrating and empty space. This song seemed less choreographed and not as well thought out as “A Note from Linda.”
I really wanted to love George C. Ortiz Jr.’s choreography, but I feel that the performance of it, most of the time, is too presentational. The ’80s was about rawness on the dance floor. Look at Dirty Dancing, Flashdance, or Fast Forward to name a few films. Those dancers drenched the floor with sweat, and when they did a pirouette, they did it with finesse and with conviction.
I felt that Ortiz gave his performers some decent moves, but the performance of them feels very dance competition, instead of ’80s night club. I would have loved to have seen some solos or signature retro moves during “Saturday Night in the City.” Ortiz’s choreography touched on some ’80s themes, but didn’t really embrace them.
Perhaps I am being too harsh, but based on the acting and singing ability of these performers I expected their dancing to be stronger, with more emotion and less pointed toes. They need to leave it all on the floor.
Despite these minor discrepancies, the production is pure entertainment. The characters are believable, the material is engaging and the music is nostalgic and fun.
Another plus: If you sit in the center seats you will be served coffee, juice, and cake, as part of the opening wedding reception. It is a nice little addition to a great show.
The Wedding Singer at Act One Community Theater, 26111 Ynez Rd., Suite B-9, Temecula, (951) 296-0043; www.act1theaterarts.com. Thru March 6. General admission $15-$25.