The Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre (formerly Richland Light Opera Co.) has unleashed its production of The Wedding Singer, resurrecting the 1980s with panache and aplomb.
This ensemble worked as a team throughout the entire production. They presented themselves on opening night as though they had worked together for years. A few opening-night gremlins did sneak in, but it was largely a seamless debut.
Robbie, played by Geoff Elliott, is a wedding singer who gets dumped the day before his own wedding by girlfriend Linda (Ashley Wheatcroft). The effects are devastating.
He is rescued by his band friends Sammy (Brad Steiner) and George (Craig Allen) and the two waitresses from the catering company Holly (Ellie Alayne) and Julia (Julie Heegal). Grandma Rosie (Dianne Hudson) joins them in trying to bring Robbie out of his funk.
This play is a story of this process and the underlying love affair that ensues between Robbie and Julia, complicated only by Julia's current fiance Glen Guglia (Freddy Izaguirre).
But without the ensemble characters, this presentation would not be nearly as delightful. Kudos also go to the set people. While most of the cast moved their own set around, support staff did a great job to make sure everything flowed.
Standouts include Allen's portrayal of George, who transported me back to the days of Culture Club frontman Boy George in a flamboyant and delightful way. Allen's comedic timing and musical talent were impeccable.
Hudson's portrayal of Grandma Rosie made for the coolest Granny I have ever seen, a performance that included wicked dance moves.
Heegal has a voice that makes you take a deep breath and not let it go until she has stopped singing. It was ideal casting.
However, Alayne stole this show with her mannerisms, facial expressions, timing and musical talent.
While the ensemble cast had occasional pitch problems, and not all the harmonies worked, overall they performed very well together -- especially the group dance routines.
This is a great show, but The Wedding Singer is about adult situations and has some coarse language, so it might be best to make this a grownup date night rather than a family event.
Making the opening night performance even more fun were the many audience members and ushers who donned 1980s attire, including teased hair.
-- Layne Newman spent 27 years as a military wife before moving to Kennewick. Her two passions are theater and history, both of which she picked up while growing up in New Zealand.