Woodstock goes back to the ’80s with ‘Wedding Singer’

Holly (Dayna Palya, left) and Sammy (Jesse Thielsen) rock each others world in TownSquare Players’ production of “The Wedding Singer.”  |  Submitted Photo
Holly (Dayna Palya, left) and Sammy (Jesse Thielsen) rock each others world in TownSquare Players’ production of “The Wedding Singer.” | Submitted Photo

Break out your banana clips and shoulder pads, we’re going back to the 1980s.

The TownSquare Players present the musical “The Wedding Singer,” the Broadway play based on the Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore movie of the same name.

The play runs March 7 to 23 at the Woodstock Opera House. Performance times are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 3 p.m. Sundays. It is being directed by Betsey Stemple of Marengo.

“The Wedding Singer” is set in 1985 New Jersey. Robbie Hart (Colin May) is a wanna-be rock star making his living as an in-demand wedding singer. He’s the life of the party, until his own fiancée leaves him at the altar.

Then it becomes his mission to tank every party he’s hired for. Then he meets Julia (Colleen Rogalski), a cute waitress who helps him back to the land of the living. Sadly, Julia is engaged to a Wall Street jerk and unless he can pull off the performance of his career, Robbie is going to lose her.

Populated by an unforgettable cast of characters, “The Wedding Singer” is a good choice for an early spring show. It follows the movie for the most part, Stemple said, although there are “significant changes.”

“Any time you take a movie and turn it into a play, you’re going to have more set design, more scenery, more pieces, more everything,” she said. “The general theme is completely the same, but … they have a completely new, written score for it. It’s wonderful. It’s rock ‘n’ roll from the ‘80s.

“Some aspects of it are even better if you’re going to be in it. Characters like Holly and Linda are far more significant characters in the play than they are in the movie. They get to sing some of the best rock ‘n’ roll songs in the show.”

The show has all the charm of the original play and more, she said. For one thing, Robbie’s band is a live band.

“It’s a visual piece. We’ve taken great pains,” she said. “Our costumer, Susan Colwell … she is doing an amazing, phenomenal job. It’s a period piece so it’s period correct. It’s going to be a visual feast on stage. A lot of it is authentic ‘80s wear.

“The bride is wearing my original 1980s wedding dress. We have four weddings and a bar mitzvah that we cover. So you can imagine — we had several dresses in there, several different bridal parties and color schemes — it was like planning four weddings and a bar mitzvah. Plus an anniversary party.”

People who are in need of a good laugh will enjoy this light-hearted romantic comedy that’s a throwback to better days of big hair and fatter wallets, she said. And she promises you don’t have to have seen the movie to appreciate the play.

“You walk away from it singing the tunes. It’s just so upbeat. It’s so fun,” she said.

“Our kids have no idea what the ‘80s were like. Most of us adults do remember. It was a different time; it was a time of more money and a time in the economy where you could actually care about having a closetful of colorful clothes.

“It was a fun time hanging out at the mall, and our kids have no clue what that was like. Some of the cast and crew are younger and were born in the ’80s or early ’90s, and they’re getting an earful.”

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