This past weekend, Ole Miss Theatre put on a production of The Wedding Singer in Fulton Chapel. The play opened on Friday, Nov. 11 and put on four shows through Sunday, Nov. 13.
The Wedding Singer is a musical based off the hit movie starring Adam Sandler. The musical is set in Ridgefield, New Jersey in 1985. It tells the story of a wedding singer, Robbie Hart, who gets left at the altar and finds love in the most surprising place.
The musical rendition of The Wedding Singer was amazing! The director, René Pulliam, is the head of the BFA program in Musical Theatre at the University of Mississippi. She did a phenomenal job of casting and organizing the musical to make her vision come to life. The fluidity of the entire production was just fantastic and the chemistry between the actors was electric. Looking onto the stage, you were drawn into the story as if you were a fly on the wall of that reception hall in 1985.
Adam Sandler’s character Robbie Hart was perfectly portrayed by senior Cory Clark. But, it was impossible to miss George, played by senior Stephen Wagner. He embraced the character of George and drew in the audience with his sassy attitude and eccentric outfits. George is Robbie Hart’s flamboyant, gay friend who plays the keytar for their band. His over dramatic performance with Robbie’s grandmother at her anniversary party stole the show.
You would know without a doubt this play was set in the 1980s just from the appropriate use of costumes, which fit each character to a tee. The boys in the tacky, oversized sweaters, and the girls in tight fit crop tops and puffy sleeves. Almost every character was wigged for the play. There were boys in mullets and shaggy hair, and girls with perms and hair teased high.
As you walked into Fulton Chapel, you were taken aback by how well the stage looked. The set designers did an amazing job of making such a beautiful set. The array of colorful lights with the neon color scheme for the backdrop of the stage prepared the audience for what was going to be a very ‘80s musical. The stage was practical but also had all the bells and whistles needed to make the set look just right. It was practically flawless, in terms of the transitions and functionality. The cast was very fluid in the changing of sets as they went on and off stage.
Overall, the sound was great. Every song was well rehearsed and well executed by the cast. I only had a few problems with the sound. Some of the songs just happened spontaneously; the transition between the acting and the singing was not very graceful. The clarity of the music was sporadic. Some of the actors could be heard more clearly than others. It seemed like some of their microphones were turned down too low.
The choreography in The Wedding Singer was very well put together. Kate Prendergast, the choreographer, is a student at Ole Miss. You can tell she really worked the cast members to make them live up to their greatest potential. The actors never missed a step, but if they did, they made sure the audience couldn’t tell; you never saw an actor stumble or show visible signs of distress. They were true professionals throughout the play.The incorporation of the ‘80s dance moves into modern day choreography was genius. At one point in the show, I heard a lady behind me go, “I remember doing those dances in high school!”
I asked a few people around me which number was their favorite and every person I asked answered “All About the Green.” It was the perfect mix between singing and dancing. Each singing could be heard equally and the vocals mixed well. There was an extensive amount of dancing that kept the audience interested throughout the entire number. There was so much going on, from cartwheels to dance breaks. You couldn’t look away… Not that you would want to!
The audience just wasn’t ready for Robbie and Julia’s love story to end. The cast had me, and the rest of the audience, laughing to the point of tears throughout the whole show.
There was no such thing as a “small part” in this musical. Each actor went above and beyond to portray their character in the best way possible. Whether it be the accents they added to their voice or how their personality shown through the character giving it a unique flare. The actors really put their all into this play.
The talent in the theatre program is overwhelming. Everyone from the actors to the people behind the scenes worked tirelessly to make this show into something they could be proud of – and they should be. We see how dedicated they are to their art. The attention to detail in this production is inspiring .From the big things like the backdrop on the stage to the small things like making sure someone’s hair looked just right. They really showed their creativity in every aspect of the show.
The Wedding Singer was very comedic and full of energy. It is unfortunate I went to the final show because I probably would have gone to all four shows this weekend had I gone to the first show.
Congratulations, Ole Miss Theatre, on another production well done!
Ole Miss Theatre’s next production, The Tooth Puller, will be February 17-19 & 21-25 in Meek Auditorium.