My Big Gay Italian Wedding
|My Big Gay Italian Wedding|
|Written by||Anthony J. Wilkinson|
|Date premiered||November 14, 2003|
|Place premiered||Actor's Playhouse
New York City
My Big Gay Italian Wedding is a play written by Anthony J. Wilkinson that includes original music and lyrics written by David James Boyd. It premiered off-Broadway in 2003, at the Actor's Playhouse in New York City. In September 2009, a revised version produced by Dina Manzo of Bravo's The Real Housewives of New Jersey and co-starring Scott Evans played a benefit performance at the St. George Theatre in Staten Island; the play then opened with a new cast that included Reichen Lehmkuhl in May 2010 at the St. Luke's Theatre on West 46th Street, in Manhattan, for an open-ended run that conclude on August 20, 2011. As of November 2012, My Big Gay Italian Wedding also ran at the St. Luke's Theatre in an open ended run (now closed) with the cast below. Los Angeles and UK productions were running currently.
My Big Gay Italian Wedding satirizes the controversies surrounding same-sex marriage as well as gay and Italian stereotypes. Anthony Pinnunziato, a gay Italian-American from a large chaotic family, wishes to marry his boyfriend Andrew Polinski in a traditional Italian ceremony. Anthony's overbearing mother won't give her blessing unless Andrew's estranged mother also gives her blessing and the ceremony is performed by a priest. Matters are further complicated by Andrew's ex-boyfriend, intent on breaking up the couple.
My Big Gay Italian Wedding premiered at the Actor's Playhouse (Now closed) in November 2003, where it played in repertory with the musical Naked Boys Singing. Wedding was directed by Peter Rapanaro and featured a costume design by Chris March of Bravo's reality television series Project Runway. The production moved to What was then Theatre Four (and is now WP Theater) on West 55th Street in Manhattan,[when?] where it played for 38 weeks with a new cast that included James Getzlaff, star of the Bravo reality series Boy Meets Boy.
On September 12, 2009, a revised and updated version of the play played a benefit performance at the St. George Theatre in Staten Island; the new production was produced by Dina Manzo of The Real Housewives of New Jersey and starred Wilkinson and Scott Evans of the ABC soap opera One Life to Live. It was directed by Teresa A. Cicala and included new choreography by J. Austin Eyer.
The production moved to an open-ended run at the St. Luke's Theatre in Manhattan in May 2010, adding as co-star Reichen Lehmkuhl of CBS TV's The Amazing Race. In July 2010, Daniel Robinson, veteran of Broadway Bares, Hairspray and the film The Big Gay Musical (2009) joined Wilkinson on stage until November 2010.
On August 2, 2010, it was announced that Real Housewives of New Jersey cast members Teresa Giudice, Ashley Holmes, Jacqueline Laurita, Caroline Manzo, and Lauren Manzo would step in as cast members for one week in September. After sold-out performances, the Housewives signed up to repeat their guest appearances on October 20 to 23rd, 2010 resulting in another successful, sold-out run.
Following Robinson's departure, the role of Andrew was taken up by David Moretti, star of here! TV's series The Lair, on November 18, 2010, the same day as the show's 100th performance. The show rang in this milestone performance with special guests Ilene Kristen from One Life to Live and Claire Buffie, the reigning 2010 Miss New York, whose platform is marriage equality. BRAVO's Tabatha Coffey was a special guest in the show for a full weekend, December 2-4th 2010. Other guests during this period included Lance Bass and Vincent Pastore.
In January 2011, Marty Thomas joined the cast as Andrew, replacing David Moretti. Ilene Kristen, previously a special guest in the show, also joined the cast as Aunt Toniann. This provided the set up for MBGIW's first soap week, March 17–19, 2011, when soap opera divas took over all the female roles in the play for the weekend, and Kristen was joined onstage by Ellen Dolan (As the World Turns), Brittany Underwood (One Life to Live), Kristen Alderson (One Life to Live), and Marnie Schulenberg] (As the World Turns).
On March 31, 2011 recording artist Kim Sozzi took over duties as Aunt Toniann for Ilene Kristen. Sozzi occupied the role until May 28, 2011. In something new for the role, Sozzi, as Aunt Toniann, performed the original song "Italian Booty Shake" live during the wedding reception in Act II of the play.
In May 2011, My Big Gay Italian Wedding celebrated one full year Off-Broadway at St. Luke's Theatre.
In June 2011, the show celebrated Gay Pride Month by alternating drag queens in the role of Rodney each week. The drag queens included Hedda Lettuce and RuPaul's Drag Race contestants Mimi Imfurst and Stacy Layne Matthews.
In August 2011, My Big Gay Italian Wedding made its European debut playing at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The production was directed by Paul Taylor-Mills and transferred to The White Bear in London following its Edinburgh run.
In September 2012, the play made is Asian debut in Hong Kong, directed by Wendy Herbert at The Hong Kong Fringe Club.
The Higher the Hair, the Closer to God Contest
Tabatha Coffey returned to My Big Gay Italian Wedding March 3–5, 2011 as a special guest in the show, similar to her run in December. Her appearance coincided with My Big Gay Italian Wedding's "The Higher the Hair, the Closer to God" Hair Salon contest, in which Coffey was one of the Official Judges for the Semi-Finals alongside Dina Manzo and Elvis Duran of Z100, on March 6, the day after Coffey's final performance.
The Hair Salon Contest was open to all salon owners and employees in the greater New York area. The 100+ contestants competed to create a new, innovative, modern, high, BIG, trendy hair style/theme to be used in My Big Gay Italian Wedding and were challenged to "Think the 1980s meets 2011!" Photo and video submissions were accepted up until the deadline on February 27, and on March 6 ,at Rab's Country Lanes in Staten Island, New York, 30 semi-finalists were chosen to participate in a runway style, walk-off judged by Tabatha, Dina, and Elvis. The remaining 12 finalist hairdresser-and-model pairs were assigned their own dates in the show for a walk-on role, voted on by the audience. The winning hairdresser was awarded $5,000, a full-page ad for their salon in the playbill, and their new hair style featured in My Big Gay Italian Wedding. Walk-on roles, scheduled every Thursday/Friday, wrapped up on May 13, 2011 with a winner announced soon afterward.[who?]
- Dan Amboyer– Andrew
- Drew Little – Anthony
- Josh Grisetti – Maurizio
- Lainie Kazan – Angela
- Peter Gregus – Joseph
- Marissa Rosen – Maria
- Rosie Lopez – Aunt Toniann
- Josh Segarra – Gregorio
- Liz Gerecitano – Lucia
- Meagan Robar – Connie
- Michael Hull – Mario
- Josh Drake – Frankie
- Marti Gould Cummings – Rodney
- Jefferson Mays – Father Rosalia
- Jonathan Weiner – Ensemble
- Marie Fontane – Ensemble
In July 2010, a recording featuring Boyd's original songs was made available on iTunes. In March 2011, Marty Thomas, along with David J. Boyd, recorded an updated version of the original track "Love Conquers All", which thereafter was featured and sung by Marty in the show during curtain calls.
- Piepenburg, Erik (March 18, 2007). "Showing the Flag for a Local Hero". The New York Times.
- "My Big Gay Italian Wedding Plays The St. George Theater". Broadway World.
- "Housewife Dina Manzo Joins Team for My Big Gay Italian Wedding". Broadway World.
- Gans, Andrew (July 14, 2011). "My Big Gay Italian Wedding Will Close in August". Playbill. Archived from the original on September 4, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
- "My Big Gay Italian Wedding: This show has closed". Saint Luke's Theater. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
- "My Big Gay Italian Wedding". Ticketmaster.
- "One Life to Live's Scott Evans, Anthony Wilkinson, et al. Set for My Big Gay Italian Wedding Benefit: Theater News on TheaterMania.com".
- "Daniel Robinson to Replace Reichen Lehmkuhl in My Big Gay Italian Wedding - Playbill.com".
- "Real Housewives of New Jersey Stars to Join Cast of My Big Gay Italian Wedding: Theater News on TheaterMania.com".
- "Dr. Joy Browne to Guest Star in My Big Gay Italian Wedding". TheaterMania. July 9, 2010. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
- "Bravo Star Tabatha Coffey is Part of Off-Broadway's 'My Big Gay Italian Wedding' Beginning December 2". Playbill. December 2010.
- "Soap Week!". Soaps in Depth. February 2011.
- Bacalzo, Dan (24 May 2011). "Mimi Imfurst, Hedda Lettuce, et al. to Guest Star in My Big Gay Italian Wedding". Theater Mania. Retrieved 6 March 2013.