Entertainment

Broadway Olympia’s ‘Wedding Singer’ will feed your nostalgia for the 1980s

The cast, led by Jake Atwood as Robbie Hart, rehearses for the opening of “The Wedding Singer” Friday at the Capitol Theater.
The cast, led by Jake Atwood as Robbie Hart, rehearses for the opening of “The Wedding Singer” Friday at the Capitol Theater. Courtesy of Broadway Olympia

Neither snow nor more snow nor even more snow could keep the actors and crew of Broadway Olympia from putting on the company’s new show.

Despite two weeks of weather that had South Sound shivering, shoveling and scratching its collective head, the company’s “The Wedding Singer” will open this weekend — just Friday instead of Thursday.

“The Wedding Singer,” nominated for five 2006 Tony Awards, tells the story of wedding singer and would-be rock star Robbie Hart (Jake Atwood), who believes in love, though he hasn’t been lucky in it.

Like the 1998 Adam Sandler film on which it’s based, the musical has romance at its heart but is mostly about laughs and nostalgia for the decade when Ronald Reagan ruled the nation.

When the play opened in 2006, New York Times critic Ben Brantley described it as “a singing, dancing version of Trivial Pursuit: 80’s Edition.”

“It’s basically a two-hour long celebration of the ’80s — music, pop culture, style, everything,” Broadway Olympia managing director Kyle Murphy told The Olympian. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Both Murphy and director Blake York saw and appreciated the musical’s pre-Broadway run at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle.

“As soon as the lights went up, it was obvious that this was going to be a party, not just a show,” Murphy said. “The very first number was stuck in my head for about a month because it’s so catchy.”

“What really struck me was the energy it brought from curtain up, and the amount of humor they were able to pepper in throughout the show,” York, technical director at Tacoma Little Theatre, told The Olympian.

He admitted to being a big Sandler fan in the ’90s — and to watching the film over and over. “Probably a little too much,” he said.

“Re-watching the film recently, I’ve realized it may not have aged quite as well as one would hope,” he said. “The musical, however, has. It’s fun; it’s funny; it doesn’t take itself too seriously, yet there are a lot of heartwarming moments.”

“We want to do high-energy musicals,” Murphy said. “We want things that people will feel like they want to get up and dance to, and ‘The Wedding Singer’ is one of the most high-energy shows I’ve ever seen.”

Maybe it’s that energy that powered the cast — including Guy Taylor Simpson III and Ashley Roy, who recently worked together in Broadway Olympia’s “The Rocky Horror Show,” and Sharry O’Hare, who’s appeared over the decades on stages in Olympia, Tacoma and across the country — through the recent blast of wintry weather.

The cast needed one extra rehearsal, Broadway Olympia managing director Kyle Murphy told The Olympian. “We lost four rehearsals, including two days of our tech week,” he said.

“The issues with the weather would have been a much bigger deal if we didn’t have such a talented cast,” York told The Olympian. “Even with Mother Nature against us, ‘The Wedding Singer’ is going to be a great show.”

‘The Wedding Singer’

  • What: Broadway Olympia pays homage to the ’80s with a production of the Tony-nominated 2006 musical based on the 1998 film with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler.

  • When: 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

  • Where: Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia

  • Tickets: $25, $22 for Olympia Film Society members; available at olympiafilmsociety.org

  • More information: 253-961-4161, broadwayolympia.com

  • Also: The company canceled the Thursday show because the snowy weather forced the cancellation of four rehearsals; those with tickets for Thursday may use them to attend any of the other performances or call the film society box office (360-754-6670) to make other arrangements.

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