The Wedding Singer (musical)
|The Wedding Singer|
Original Cast Recording
|Basis||1998 film The Wedding Singer|
2007, 2009 US Tours
2008 UK Tour
2009 Gold Coast, Australia
2012 Waldbühne Kloster Oesede, Germany
- 1 Synopsis
- 2 Productions
- 3 Differences from the film
- 4 Songs
- 5 Casts of principal productions
- 6 Reception
- 7 Awards and nominations
- 8 References
- 9 External links
- Act 1
Robbie Hart, a Wedding singer, lives with his Grandma Rosie in Ridgefield, New Jersey. He and his band play a great wedding gig ("It’s Your Wedding Day"). During his usual "warm-up-the-crowd routine," Robbie proudly announces that he will be married to his beloved fiancée Linda the next day. At the wedding gig, Robbie meets a waitress named Julia Sullivan, who can't wait to get married ("Someday"). Afterward, Robbie tries to write a sweet (eventually corny) love song to Linda, with help from Julia, whom he had just met during the previous wedding ("Awesome"). The following day, however, Linda dumps Robbie at the altar, with only a note claiming that she wants to be the wife of a rock star and not just a wedding singer ("A Note from Linda"). Meanwhile, an anxious Julia goes out to dinner with her Wall Street banker boyfriend, Glen Guglia, hoping he will pop the question, which he does ("Pop!").
Robbie falls into a deep depression ("Somebody Kill Me Please"), but is urged by his bandmates Sammy and George, and even his grandmother ("A Note from Grandma"), to use that intense emotion to get back on his feet. However, the angry Robbie does nothing but enrage the guests at the next wedding gig ("Casualty of Love"), and he is soon thrown into the dumpster by the bridal party. With some convincing from his friend Julia, Robbie does "Come Out of the Dumpster", but changes his singing gigs strictly to bar mitzvahs ("Today You Are a Man"). After the Shapiro bar mitzvah ("George’s Prayer"), Julia convinces Robbie to help her register for her wedding, as her fiancé Glen is, as usual, busy with business-related affairs ("Not That Kind of Thing").
While at the mall, Robbie and Julia meet up with Julia's cousin and best friend Holly, who convinces the "faux duo" that Julia needs to practice her wedding kiss. Robbie and Julia awkwardly–and lovingly– kiss, only to be interrupted by the reality that Julia is marrying Glen. After seeing the kiss, Holly decides that she should go out with Robbie. Julia, still shocked by the kiss, hastily agrees with Holly. Much later that night, Robbie, Holly, Julia, Glen, Sammy, and George go to a club in New York City ("Saturday Night in the City"). Here Robbie finally realizes that Glen is a cheater and that he, Robbie, loves Julia. Holly realizes this too and tells Robbie that Julia is marrying Glen because of his money and security. Upon hearing this, Robbie exclaims, "Maybe I could change!"
- Act 2
The next morning, Robbie visits Glen at his Wall Street office to get a job and learn how to be like him in order to secretly impress Julia ("All About the Green"). Later, Julia and Holly recall the events of the night before and Julia begins to question if rich men are truly better people ("Someday"(Reprise)). Sammy arrives and tries to woo Holly, but is given the cold shoulder, but Holly can't help but feel that despite his flaws, there is no other man who could replace Sammy ("Right in front of your Eyes"). Later in the evening, a "Glenified" Robbie finds Julia at his doorstep and tries to woo her. When that doesn’t work, he accuses her of marrying Glen for his material possessions. Julia is stung and walks away from Robbie, throwing a present in his face: personalized blank sheet music. After all, Julia truly cares about Robbie and wants him to sing at weddings again, especially her wedding.
Robbie realizes what he's done and drinks his sorrows away at a local bar ("All About the Green" (Reprise)). Sammy and George go to the bar and try to convince Robbie that staying "Single" is the right thing to do. Inadvertently, Sammy and George end up persuading Robbie into going to Julia's house to tell her how he really feels. Meanwhile, at Julia's house, Julia is with her mother trying on her wedding dress, but is having doubts about marrying Glen because of recent events with her and Robbie. Julia's mother reassures her that Glen really is "Mr Right" and questions why Julia would leave him for a wedding singer. But Julia still has doubts. Robbie looks into Julia's window and sees her trying on her wedding dress and smiling at her reflection. He thinks it's because she's marrying Glen, but Julia is smiling only because she's imagining being Robbie's wife ("If I Told You"). Robbie goes home drunk and dazed only to find Linda in his bed, wanting him back ("Let Me Come Home"). Before she can fully apologize Robbie falls into a deep slumber.
The next day Julia goes to Robbie's house to tell him how she really feels, only to find Linda instead. This scares Julia into eloping with Glen to Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Robbie wakes up and promptly kicks Linda (the "psycho") out. At his Grandma Rosie's 50th anniversary party, Robbie finds out from Holly what happened to Julia. Only then do Robbie and Julia realize that they may never see each other again, and they may never get to tell each other what’s on their minds ("If I Told You" (Reprise)).
With urging from his grandmother and Sammy, Robbie goes to the airport and gets on the next plane to Vegas ("Move That Thang"). With the help of a group of Vegas impersonators (Billy Idol, Ronald Reagan, Tina Turner, Mr. T and many others), Robbie crashes Julia's and Glen's wedding at the Little White House Chapel and sings his new song to Julia ("Grow Old With You"). Glen is outraged that Robbie and Julia still have feelings for each other and blurts out that he cheated on Julia with hundreds of women. Upon hearing this, the impersonators beat Glen up, and Robbie proposes to Julia. She says yes, on one condition: "Will you sing at my wedding?" The answer is a resounding "Yes!" Later, Mr. and Mrs. Robbie Hart are wed ("It’s Your Wedding Day" (Finale)).
The musical opened on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on April 27, 2006 and closed on December 31, 2006 after 284 performances. It was directed by John Rando, with choreography by Rob Ashford, and featured Stephen Lynch as Robbie.
The First National Tour had a preview performance on August 31, 2007 at the Phillips Center in Gainesville, FL, and officially opened September 4th, at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, AL. After playing 31 cities, the tour closed at Harrah's in Atlantic City, NJ on August 31st, 2008. Paul Stancato directed the tour based on the original Broadway direction by John Rando and Chris Bailey provided choreography, which was based on Rob Ashford's Broadway work. The creative team also included John Mezzio (musical supervisor/coordinator/conductor), Scott Pask (scenic designer), Brian MacDevitt (lighting designer), Gregory Gale (costume designer) and Lucas J. Corrubia, Jr. (sound designer).
A different touring production of the show opened on September 28, 2009 in Fayetteville, Arkansas at the Walton Arts Center. It continued until March 28, 2010, ending in New Haven, Connecticut at the Shubert Theatre, having traveled throughout the US and Canada. This production was produced by Prather Entertainment Group and directed by Seth Reines, with choreography by Amy McCleary.
El Rey de Bodas, the Spanish-language version (which translates as "The King of Weddings"), opened in Madrid on November 14, 2007, starring Naim Thomas as Robbie, María Virumbrales as Julia and María Adamuz as Holly.
The South Australian premiere was on July 9, 2008 at the Arts Theatre, Adelaide, presented by Matt Byrne Media. The Queensland, Australia, premiere was on February 13, 2009 (after Previews), at the Spotlight Theatre, Gold Coast. Directed by Priscilla Scott, the show stars Marc Lister and Kirby Lunn, with Stewart Reeve, Steven Dorrington and Shirley King. The four-week season closed March 14, 2009.
The Philippine production opened at the Meralco Theater on October 23, 2010 and ran until November 17, 2010. The show is led by television personalities Gian Magdangal of Party Pilipinas and Iya Villania of ASAP XV.
Differences from the film
The musical largely follows the same storyline as the 1998 film of the same title which starred Adam Sandler opposite Drew Barrymore. However, some plot and character elements were indeed altered. For instance:
- At the beginning of the film in the Veltri's wedding, Robbie Hart and his band perform "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" by Dead or Alive. While in the musical, the song is "It's Your Wedding Day".
- In the movie, Linda (Angela Featherstone) does not show up to the wedding. She later visits Robbie on his doorstep and dumps him for his lost ambition. In the musical, she does show up to the wedding and dumps him via letter (ghost appearance).
- The older woman to whom the lead character Robbie Hart gives singing lessons, portrayed in the film by Ellen Albertini Dow, is changed into his own grandmother for the musical. In the film, Rosie is just a friend whose 50th Wedding Anniversary to her husband inspires Robbie to pursue Julia and writes a song called "Grow Old With You".
- In the movie, Robbie lives with Kate, his sister, and her husband Andy and their children. In the musical, none of these characters exist and Robbie lives with his grandmother.
- Robbie ruins the wedding before playing "Somebody Kill Me" in the movie. In the musical, he plays the song at another wedding gig and offends everyone.
- In the film version, Robbie is kicked out and left in the dumpster by the bride's enraged father after he offends everyone at the reception with Love Stinks. In the musical, it's the bridal party that leaves him in the dumpster.
- Robbie's friend Sammy, portrayed by Allen Covert in the film, is a member of Robbie's band in the musical. His character's personality was also changed to give it more "white trash" elements in comparison to the movie version which portrays him in a more positive light. In the film, Sammy is the only limousine driver in town who grew up idolizing guys on television for gaining women and is revealed to be quite lonely for female companionship.
- Julia's cousin Holly and Robbie's friend Sammy are shown to be broken up from a relationship, though they still love each other. In the movie, the two know each other but there is no mention of a relationship between the two until the end, where they lightly flirt.
- When Robbie goes to the city to seek out gainful employment, in the musical he turns to Julia's fiancé Glen (his rival for her affections), rather than an unrelated bank as in the film.
- In both versions, Julia, Glen, and Robbie board airplanes to Las Vegas. However, in the movie they are on the same plane and Robbie proposes to Julia on the plane, while in the musical they arrive in Las Vegas and Robbie only intercepts Julia just as she and Glen are about to be married.
- In the movie, Billy Idol is the actual Billy Idol playing himself who helps Robbie subdue Glenn with the help of a female attendant and a burly biker whom is a big fan of Idol. In the musical, "Billy Idol" is one of the Vegas impersonators that helps Robbie crash the wedding and subdue Glen.
- In the musical, Robbie performs at his and Julia's wedding. In the film version, Dave Veltri (portrayed by Steve Buscemi) is the new wedding singer and performs at Robbie and Julia's wedding.
- In the film, Robbie has a heated confrontation with Glenn about his cheating on Julia during his bachelor party. While a brief confrontation happened between them in the musical, Robbie was too intoxicated and fell on the ground with Glen warning him to stay away from Julia. Later on in Las Vegas, Glen confesses to cheating on Julia when Robbie arrives to stop the wedding with the Vegas impersonators.
- In the film after a fight with Glenn, an intoxicated Robbie comes home to find Linda waiting for him outside Kate's house and wanting to reconcile with him. In the musical, he simply finds her on his bed and passes out. She begs him to give her another chance in their relationship while he was passed out intoxicated. In both versions after awakening, Robbie tells Linda off it's over between them.
- In the musical, Glen proposes to Julia at the restaurant. While in the movie, they're already engaged for two years and Glenn is convinced to have the wedding in Ridgefield.
- In the film, Sammy stops Robbie from his plans to stay a bachelor all his life by revealing it's not as impressive as it looks and convinces him to tell Julia how he feels. In the musical, Sammy tries to convince him to stay single before encouraging Robbie to tell Julia.
- In the film, Glenn name is spelled with two n's, while in the musical his name only has one.
- In the musical, Robbie meets Julia as he practices with his guitar for a song he's writing for Linda. In the film, he meets Julia after escorting an intoxicated kid outside to throw up in the dumpster. He then proceeds to warn the kid of the dangers of drinking alcohol("Alcohol equals puke, equals smelly mess, equals nobody likes you!").
- In the film, George Stitzer (played by Alexis Arquette) is an androgynous all instrument playing keyboardist and background vocalist whom is a Boy George fanatic. In the musical, George also plays tambourine and is masculine. Unlike in the film, George has a more central role in the musical.
- In the film version after Robbie looks at Julia's present which is a notebook for him to write his music in, one of his nephews makes him realize he's insane for throwing his talent away. In the musical, Julia simply tells Robbie off about her wanting him to continue playing at weddings.
- In the film, Sammy convinces Robbie to come back to work after having a talk with Andy. In the musical, he, George and Rosie try to convince him to overcome his heartbreak and return to work.
- In the film, Holly is worried about Robbie's behavior and tells Sammy that having him going back to work is a bad idea as he's still going through a heartbreak from Linda. In the musical, Julia makes a heart felt plea to Robbie in taking a break so he can calm down.
*The song "Pop!" was removed for the US national tour because the set pieces for the song were too big. With this plot change, Glen proposes to Julia over the phone instead of at the restaurant in "Pop!"
Casts of principal productions
Original Broadway cast
- Stephen Lynch as Robbie Hart
- Matthew Saldivar as Sammy
- Kevin Cahoon as George
- Laura Benanti as Julia Sullivan
- Amy Spanger as Holly
- Richard H. Blake as Glen Guglia
- Rita Gardner as Rosie
- Felicia Finley as Linda
- Tina Maddigan covered the role of Julia Sullivan and soon took over the role until Benanti's return to close the show in December 2006.
- Constantine Maroulis replaced Matthew Saldivar as Sammy September through December 2006. Saldivar then returned to close the show after Maroulis's departure.
First National Tour (US)
- Merritt David Janes as Robbie Hart
- Erin Elizabeth Coors as Julia Sullivan
- Justin Jutras as Sammy
- Penny Larsen as Rosie
- John Jacob Lee as George
- Sarah Peak as Holly
- Mark Raumaker as Glen Guglia
- Nikka Wahl as Linda (replaced in the first week of performances, due to injury, by Andrea Andert)
- Ensemble: Joel Abels, Ashley Anderson, Andrea Andert, Carrie Cimma, Kevin Faraci, Zach Frank, Susan Leilani Gearou, Kimberly Marable, Ciaran McCarthy, Rebecca Lynn Miller, Lindsay Moore, Matthew Ragas, Rebecca Riker, Jason Samuel, Marco Antonio Santiago and Neil Totton. 
Original UK tour cast
- Jonathan Wilkes as Robbie Hart
- Natalie Casey as Julia Sullivan
- Simon Lipkin as Sammy
- Nick Hayes as George
- Jodie Jacobs as Holly
- Stephen Webb as Glen
- Tricia Deighton as Rosie
- Camille Devine as Linda
- Carys Gray as Angie
2009-2010 US tour original cast
- J. Michael Zygo as Robbie Hart
- Adam Clough as Sammy
- Ben Martin as George
- Jillian Zygo as Julia Sullivan
- Kaitlin Doughty as Holly
- Brendan Schaefer as Glen Guglia
- Ellen Karsten as Rosie
- Jennifer Gottlieb as Linda
- Ashtia Jewell as Angie
Original Canadian cast
- Matthew Campbell as Robbie Hart
- Kraig Waye as Sammy
- Andrew McGillivray as George
- Erica Peck as Julia Sullivan
- Rachel Fischer as Holly
- Sean Andrews as Glen Guglia
- Karen Wood as Rosie
- Kristen Peace as Linda
- Marianne McCord as Angie
Original Austrian cast
- Klemens Patek as Robbie Hart
- Jakob Urani as Sammy
- Andreas Steiner as George
- Pia Lauermann as Julia Sullivan
- Marie-Luise Schottleitner as Holly
- Florian Scherz as Glen Guglia
- Michaela Mikesch as Rosie
- Sandra Becher as Linda
- Silvia Schachinger as Angie
Original German cast
- Director: Max Messler
- Choreography: Brady Harrison
- Musical Director: Georgi Gürov
- Yannik Gräf as Robbie Hart
- Bernold Kamp as Sammy
- Dominik Gerlach as George
- Annika Wesselkamp as Julia Sullivan
- Laura Trompetter as Holly
- Patrick Mai as Glen Guglia
- Silke Röwekamp as Rosie
- Karina Linnemann as Linda
- Uschi Körner as Angie
- NOTE regarding all tour casts: These were the original actors for the main roles, but during the tours, some actors were replaced temporarily or permanently, due to medical leave or scheduling/contract conflicts.
Ben Brantley, in his review for The New York Times, wrote "the show has at least a flutter of a hedonist's pulse. And if its formulaic catering to an established public appetite feels cynical, the cast members exude earnestness and good nature. They are a personable enough lot, which is not the same as saying that they have personality. For, as so often happens when good (or even not-so-good) films turn into stage shows, the first things to be jettisoned are sharp edges and authentically quirky characters." He further noted "wispy" plot, Mr. Sklar's "pastiche score", and that "Rob Ashford's choreography is replete with literal-minded tributes to 1980's music videos for era-defining songs like 'Thriller,' 'Material Girl' and 'Flashdance.'"
The Variety reviewer wrote that "Forced as it is, this is a fizzy confection offering enough easy enjoyment to attract the outer boroughs and the tourist trade. It's also derivative by design, to some extent making a virtue of its inherent phoniness via winking acknowledgement. Where the 1998 film ended with a scene featuring '80s icon Billy Idol, the stage adaptation corrals not only an Idol impersonator but a fake Tina Turner, Imelda Marcos, Cyndi Lauper, Mr. T and Ronald Reagan. Retro overkill is a distinct risk here, but one mainstream auds are unlikely to mind."
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
|2006||Tony Award||Best Musical||Nominated|
|Best Book of a Musical||Chad Beguelin and Tim Herlihy||Nominated|
|Best Original Score||Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical||Stephen Lynch||Nominated|
|Best Choreography||Rob Ashford||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Musical||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Stephen Lynch||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Amy Spanger||Nominated|
|Outstanding Choreography||Rob Ashford||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lyrics||Chad Beguelin||Nominated|
|Outstanding Music||Matthew Sklar||Nominated|
|Outstanding Set Design||Scott Pask||Nominated|
|Outstanding Costume Design||Gregory Gale||Nominated|
- Gans, Andrew."One Night Only: Wedding Singer Tour Begins Aug. 31", playbill.com, August 31, 2007
- "The Wedding Singer tour (partial) weddingsingerontheroad.com, retrieved February 22, 2010
- Ruggieri, Melissa."‘The Wedding Singer’ revisits the ‘80s and old-fashioned romance"Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 24, 2010
-  elreydebodas.com
- Geen, Michael."Jonathan Wilkes in The Wedding Singer at Manchester", chesterchronicle.co.uk, February 22, 2008
-  tohostage.com
-  mattbyrnemedia.com.au
-  spotlighttheatre.com.au
-  9 Works Theatrical
-  BroadwayWorld.com Philippines
-  Theater im Neukloster
-  German premiere - local newspaper article
- Gans, Andrew and Hernandez, Ernio "You're The One That I Want" Contestant Anderson Joins Wedding Singer Tour, playbill.com, Sept. 28, 2007
- Brantley, Ben."Something Borrowed, Something Renewed: The Return of the 80's in 'The Wedding Singer'" The New York Times, April 26, 2006
- Rooney, David."Review, 'The Wedding Singer'" Variety, April 26, 2006
- The Wedding Singer at the Internet Broadway Database
- The Wedding Singer plot and production information at guidetomusicaltheatre.com
- The Wedding Singer at the Music Theatre International website