Stony Point’s ‘Wedding Singer’ production to kick off July 4th weekend
By James Grob, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Stony Point Players are inviting the people of Charles City to kick off the Fourth of July Weekend with a fun musical stroll down Memory Lane.
Tickets are now for sale online for the Players production of “The Wedding Singer.” Shows will be at North Grand Auditorium on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; June 30 and July 1-2, starting at 7 each night. Tickets can be purchased at ShowTix4U.com.
Director Michelle Grob and musical director Derek Sturtevant said they can see the show coming together, as they implement more and more components such as the set pieces, costumes, lights, sound, the orchestra pit and more.
So as not to compete with all the festivities in the community that are going on Saturday and Sunday for Independence Day, Sturtevant and Grob decided to use the show to offer an early start to the weekend, with shows Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights.
In particular, they didn’t want to conflict with the last concert of the band Endless Summer, which will be in Central Park on Saturday that weekend. Bill Wolfe, who was a co-founder of Endless Summer, also played a significant role in the Stony Point Players over the years, both on stage as an actor and back stage through set building and other important tasks.
Wolfe passed away late last year from COVID-19. Grob and Sturtevant both said that Wolfe was a beloved member of the Stony Point Players, and his daughter, Olivia, plays one of the main characters in “The Wedding Singer.”
“We needed to respect that,” Sturtevant said.
“We all just miss him so much,” added Grob.
Grob and Sturtevant both said that the production was “a step back toward normalcy” in the community after nearly a-year-and-a-half of COVID-19 restrictions and precautions.
“I’m hearing a lot of people in the community tell me they are so glad we are having a show this summer,” Grob said. “The people involved have all said that, too, that it’s so nice to finally be involved in another show.”
Stony Point was set to perform the musical “Beauty and the Beast” last summer, but the show had to be canceled due to complications caused by the COVID-19 epidemic. Two summers ago, Sturtevant and Janiece Bergland directed Stony Point’s production of “Spamalot,” and that’s the last production the local community theatre group has put on.
Grob said she gets a sense from the cast that they’re excited to be performing again.
“It’s great to be able to be together with a large group of people and do something we love to do,” she said. “Singing and acting without masks is something we’d taken for granted, so any steps we take in that direction are exciting.”
“The cast, the crew and the pit are working so hard, and they are giving it their all,” Sturtevant added.
“The Wedding Singer” is a musical comedy with music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin, and a book by Beguelin and Tim Herlihy. It is based on the 1998 film of the same name, which starred Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.
The musical revolves around the character Robbie Hart, who sings at weddings, his failed relationships, and his romance with a new love, Julia. Robbie will be played by Griffin Franksain while Julia will be played by Olivia Wolfe.
Julia’s cousin Holly will be played by Makenna Oleson, while Robbie’s band mates Sammy and George will be played by Anders Haglund and Michael Peterson. Antagonists Linda and Glen will be played by Madi Lincoln and Jeff Kellogg. Grandma Rosie will be played by Linda Hughes, while Julia’s mother, Angie, will be played by Lynn Bauer. Dozens of other actors and singers of all ages in the community make up the rest of the cast.
“It’s interesting how a lot of the young actors do not get the constant nods and references to 80s pop culture the way the older actors do,” Sturtevant said. “A lot of people get it, and a lot of people don’t — and the people who get it are constantly rolling their eyes over the people who don’t.”
Sturtevant has assembled a nine-piece pit orchestra for the production, and he said that many of the musicians are enjoying the throwback music.
“There are constant nods to 80s music, through little recognizable licks and specific musical sounds that a lot of our musicians in the orchestra really appreciate,” Sturtevant said.
“There isn’t a song that I don’t like in the show,” Sturtevant said. “They are all so fun. They all express certain genres of the 80s and also move the narrative along.”
Grob said that she is enjoying working with a new lighting system, which was recently fully installed in the North Grand Auditorium.
“We have our new lights that we put to first use in the high school spring musical,” Grob said. “We’ve really taken them to the next level for this show, though, because we’ve really learned all the things we can do with them.”
The musical comedy “The Wedding Singer” premiered on Broadway in 2006 and had several tours starting in 2007. It was nominated for the 2006 Tony Award for Best Musical. It subsequently has had many international productions and has become a popular high school and community theater production.