Marry comedy and chaos with “The Wedding Singer”

Ian Ogden (12)’s Robbie Hart plays the electric guitar while singing “When It’s Your Wedding Day.” “This musical is very lead-heavy,” Ian said. “It took me a while to get to know my character and all his mannerisms.
Ian Ogden (12)’s Robbie Hart plays the electric guitar while singing “When It’s Your Wedding Day.” “This musical is very lead-heavy,” Ian said. “It took me a while to get to know my character and all his mannerisms.”
Emma Milner
Omar Khan (9), as the groom, whispers to Jessica Skylar-Chen (9), the bride, during an opening scene of the “Wedding Singer.” The musical unfolds across a frenzied sequence of festivities.

A wedding. A ditching at the altar. A bar mitzvah. A last-minute breakup. Another wedding. Witty lines and harmonious melodies lamenting and celebrating the unpredictability of love. How could all of that drama fit into two hours?

The Conservatory hosted this year’s musical “The Wedding Singer” in Patil Theater from Mar. 21 to 23. Tickets were $8 for students and seniors and $15 for adults.

Omar Khan (9), as the groom, whispers to Jessica Skylar-Chen (9), the bride, during an opening scene of the “Wedding Singer.” The musical unfolds across a frenzied sequence of festivities. (Emma Milner)
Ian+Ogden+%2812%29%E2%80%99s+Robbie+Hart+and+Shareen+Chahal+%2812%29%E2%80%99s+Julia+Sullivan+sit+on+stage+as+Robbie+attempts+at+writing+a+new+wedding+song+for+his+bride-to-be+Linda.+Those+final+moments+interacting+with+my+friends%E2%80%99+solidified+characters%2C+those+moments+are+what+make+theater%2C+Ian+said.+
Ian Ogden (12)’s Robbie Hart and Shareen Chahal (12)’s Julia Sullivan sit on stage as Robbie attempts at writing a new wedding song for his bride-to-be Linda. “Those final moments interacting with my friends’ solidified characters, those moments are what make theater,” Ian said. (Emma Milner)

Robbie Hart, played by Ian Ogden (12), makes a meager living, singing at weddings with Sammy and George, played by Leo Sobcyzn (11) and Luke Mehta (12), respectively. While celebrating the culmination of other couples’ love, Robbie struggles with his own. Electric dances, heartfelt duets and celebrity impersonations carry the narrative through his messy breakup with Bhavya Srinivasan (11)’s Linda, feud with Jason Shim (11)’s Glenn Gulia and slow-burn romance with Shareen Chahal (12)’s Julia Sullivan. The show ends with a long-awaited union between Robbie and Julia, coming full circle with Robbie singing at his own wedding. 

“This musical is very lead-heavy,” Ian said. “It took me a while to get to know my character and all his mannerisms. Once I did just immerse myself in the mind of Robbie Hart, it was so fun to experiment and have fun with that character. Those final moments interacting with my friends’ solidified characters, those moments are what make theater.”

Sophia Zhu (9), Evan Yuan (9) and Omar Khan (9) dance in “Saturday Night in the City.” Closing the first act, the number features water dropping from the ceiling.

The 44-person cast began preparations last December, with vocal and choreography rehearsals taking place almost daily. Featured dancer Charlotte Ludlow (10) appreciated the emphasis on the score of the show. For her, learning the story through the music set a foundation for the next two months of dancing and acting. She commended the cast for how far they have come from the early days of rehearsal to the first live shows.

“Opening night was really fun since we saw it all come together,” Charlotte said. “Everyone could get to experience all the work we put in.”

The diverse settings and numbers required a 16-student crew to rearrange props and backdrops around the stage, sometimes in less than 30 seconds. Wheels were placed on the bottom of sets and some larger objects, like a bed and dumpster, to make it easier for the crew to move them around. During “Saturday Night in the City,” for example, a bucket from above the stage dropped water onto Selina Xu (12)’s Holly Sullivan as she closes the first act.

Sophia Zhu (9), Evan Yuan (9) and Omar Khan (9) dance in “Saturday Night in the City.” Closing the first act, the number features water dropping from the ceiling. (Emma Milner)
Selina Xu (12)’s Holly Sullivan strikes a final pose during “Right in Front of Your Eyes.” Hollys sideplot revolves around distinguishing between superficial attraction and genuine love.

Assistant stage manager Sam Parapudi (11) noted the bucket scene was a new experience for the entire crew. After the curtain closed for intermission, the crew had to mop the water off the stage to prepare for the second act.

“With tech theater, there are usually two things that should never be on stage: number one is glitter, number two is water,” Sam said. “And especially in musical theater where everyone is dancing and singing. So it was really interesting that they asked us to put water on the stage while people were dancing on stage.”

Ian spoke about how the cast and crew were always busy even when not on stage, whether it be switching outfits, mics and hairstyles for the actors, or rearranging the stage for the next scene for the crew.

“There are a lot of moving parts,” Ian said. “You saw the water bucket dropping, all the costume changes. A lot of things behind the scenes that had to be sorted out. Right up to the show date we were figuring more and more out each run through.”

Selina Xu (12)’s Holly Sullivan strikes a final pose during “Right in Front of Your Eyes.” Holly’s sideplot revolves around distinguishing between superficial attraction and genuine love. (Emma Milner)
Ian Ogden (12)’s Robbie Hart and Jason Shim (11)’s Glenn Gulia sing “All About the Green” in the beginning of the second act. Robbie tries to emulate Glenns capitalistic way in order to win over Julia.

 

From costume contests to 11-hour-long Saturday rehearsals, the cast’s dedication to the musical created a bond among the musical performers. They grew closer to each other through all the time spent paying attention to all the small details of the production of the show.

“Everyone did so well,” Leo said. “It was incredible to watch everyone go out and eat it up. So much rehearsal and so much drilling went into this but now it’s perfect.”

Ian Ogden (12)’s Robbie Hart and Jason Shim (11)’s Glenn Gulia sing “All About the Green” in the beginning of the second act. Robbie tries to emulate Glenn’s capitalistic way in order to win over Julia. (Emma Milner)
The “Wedding Singer” cast waves to the audience after the final scene of Robbie Hart and Julia Sullivan’s wedding reception. The 44-person cast began preparations last December, with vocal and choreography rehearsals taking place almost daily.

Underneath the dramatic ballads and 1980s glamor, “The Wedding Singer” is a story about human connection. Whether it be between lovers, bandmates or family members, the musical celebrates the authentic joy of love.

“Just be yourself and love will always find you,” Ian said. “That’s what Robbie Hart is always thinking about. He’s obsessed with love, and the musical shows that no matter who you are or how you act, true love will end up finding you. You’re going to live happy.”

The “Wedding Singer” cast waves to the audience after the final scene of Robbie Hart and Julia Sullivan’s wedding reception. The 44-person cast began preparations last December, with vocal and choreography rehearsals taking place almost daily. (Emma Milner)
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    MiloApr 8, 2024 at 8:05 pm

    wow! what a cool article! thank you Alllison and Emma!

    Reply