by Jody Key — Managing Editor
Audiences don’t need a DeLorean to take a trip back to the 1980s in the ATL. All they have to do is head on over to the Atlanta Lyric Theatre where The Wedding Singer opened this past Friday. Prepare to be transported back to that nostalgic era of Ronald Reagan, Michael Jackson, big hair, the end of the Cold War, a rise in Pop culture, and optimism for the future.
This musical adaptation of the Adam Sandler film follows the same storyline of Robbie Hart, a wedding singer in an event hall. When his fiancee, Linda, jilts him at the altar, he is supported by his friends in the band and a server at the event hall, Julia Sullivan. Julia becomes engaged to Glen, a high-powered Wall Street exec with a huge bag phone and to match his ego and a penchant for cheating on Julia. Robbie and Julia eventually find themselves falling in love, but is it too late? Just in case you haven’t seen the show, I won’t add any spoilers.
The Lyric doesn’t disappoint its audiences and delivers a fun, high energy show. From opening to closing, this show is a humorous romp full of toe-tapping songs with incredible vocals and spectacular dancing. Audience members can expect to see all the ’80s cliches–from skinny ties and parachute pants to Flock of Seagulls hair and Michael Jackson dance moves.
Chase Peacock has returned to the Lyric stage and does an outstanding job as Robbie Hart. This quadruple threat does it all with ease–singing, dancing, acting, and playing guitar. On top of all this, he rocks a very convincing mullet hairstyle. Audiences will fall in love with him just as much as Julia falls for him.
Rosa Campos plays Julia Sullivan, and is a newcomer to the Atlanta professional theatre scene. She made her Lyric debut in the ensemble of AIDA last fall. Rosa’s portrayal as Julia embodies all the sweetness of this character. She has star quality with beautiful vocals, effortless dance ability, and good comedic timing. We look forward to seeing more of Rosa’s work in the ATL.
Skye Passmore is making his Lyric debut as Robbie’s sidekick, Sammy. He tickles the audience’s funny bone, delivering the nostalgic ’80s cliche lines and references throughout the show.
J. Koby Parker, a Lyric favorite, is back as George, the Boy George look and sound alike in the wedding band. Koby captures the essence of George in hilarious fashion and steals the show in his bar mitzvah solo and rap with Robbie’s grandma.
Speaking of Robbie’s Grandma, Katherine Michelle Tanner as Rosie takes in so many laughs in her Lyric debut. Rosie is a feisty old gal with a great Jersey accent (think Edith Bunker) who enjoys sweating to the oldies, singing rap, and busting a move. Katherine did a fantastic job in this role.
Other noteworthy performances included Audrey Lane Crocker as Holly, Alison Brannon Wilholt as Linda, and Maxim Guckman as Glen Gulia. The entire ensemble also did a stellar job singing and dancing throughout the show.
The show’s technical execution was flawless. Ricardo Aponte’s choreography is both nostalgic and inventive, borrowing from 80s dance moves and adding in new and original elements. Lee Shiver-Cerone’s intricate scenic design paired with Ben Rawson’s lighting design is a feast for the eyes. Emmie Phelps Thompson’s costumes is true to the era. Finally, Paul Tate’s music direction paired with Alan Kirkland’s sound design is sensational.
Jessica De Maria has much to be proud of in her Lyric directorial debut, as this showcases her talent as a director and the talents of all those involved in this remarkable, feel-good musical romantic comedy.
The Wedding Singer runs at the Atlanta Lyric Theatre from February 8 – 24. Get your tickets at https://atlantalyrictheatre.com/show/the-wedding-singer/ or call the box office at 404-377-9948