‘The Wedding Tzinger’ rocks for a day
Published: Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 01:09
Robbie Hart (Jason Dick ’14) struggles to romance his friend Julia (Rachel Benjamin ’14) after he is
The 24-Hour Musical is a once-a-year presentation cosponsored by Hillel Theater Group and Tympanium Euphorium. The whole atmosphere of the event is so engaging that the show itself tends to get a bit lost in all the ruckus. This year's show, The Wedding Singer—or "Tzinger," to avoid the lawsuits—is an unusual choice. Producer Iyvon Edebiri '13 "proposed it for the fall Tymp show but it wasn't chosen. When I wanted to produce the 24-Hour Musical, I was told that it was The Wedding Singer and I freaked out!"
The show is not very well known—was anyone else completely unaware that the Adam Sandler flick was also a musical?—but it can certainly be appreciated for its lighthearted tone and romantic sensibilities. However, if I were to review the show in and of itself, my stance would be far more critical. I find the plot to be boring and tepid, the characters dull and the story progression instantly predictable. But again, the "show" is not the point of this 24-hour extravaganza. What matters is the effort that went into it, and the heart and soul of every cast and crew member was fully absorbed in the production.
The Wedding Tzinger centers around the titular performer, Robbie Hart (Jason Dick '14), who at the beginning of the show is abandoned by his fiancée Linda (Jackie Theoharis '14) at the altar, leaving the jilted Robert less than inclined to continue singing at other people's weddings. Meanwhile, his earnest waitress friend, Julia (Rachel Benjamin '14), is about to be married to the arrogant business tycoon Glenn Guglia (Yoni Bronstein '13). Eventually, Julia and Robbie realize they are meant to be together, despite the complications posed by Glenn and Linda. Also along for the ride are Robbie's bandmates Sammy (Zane Relethford '13) and George (Yoni Battat '13), as well as Robbie's sprightly hipster grandmother Rosie (Briana Bensenouci '12).
It was a massive ensemble cast, and each actor performed his or her part admirably. It's hard to mention any particular standouts, since everyone complemented each other so thoroughly. I did particularly enjoy Bronstein's delightfully slimy portrayal of Glen and Herbie Rosen '12 carrying a gigantic cell phone (the funniest inside joke of the show). Rosen was essentially playing the cell phone itself (he had four other minor roles in the show), a great gag reference to the first cell phones of the '90s. But, as previously stated, it's hard to pull particular standouts, and that's only logical: For a production that needs so many people, it's only sensible that they would each gel off of each other in equal measures; no one person could have been removed and left the show intact.
There are several engaging songs in the show, beginning with the opening number "It's Your Wedding Day." There are also such enjoyable pieces as "Someday When it's Me" and "The Casualty of Love." Then there was Bronstein's spotlight song, "It's All About the Green," which is a fun little medley, and "If I Told You," which was touchingly performed by the sweet-voiced duo of Dick and Benjamin.
The most unfortunate mishap of the show was during its final number, the reprise of "It's Your Wedding Day," which seemed to suffer from mumbling singers or malfunctioning microphones, I couldn't tell which. But such mishaps are to be expected with only a day to prepare, and the audience was quite engaged regardless. In fact, the audience loved it more whenever there was a microphone glitch or a curtain that took too long to drop—the techies took gleeful advantage of this by throwing themselves on the stage in ridiculous poses during extended blackouts—the mistakes are all part of the fun.
The cast and crew would tend to agree: "With [the 24-Hour Musical], the energy from the audience is incredible because they're all so expectant," says Sarah Pace '13 (Cindy Lauper), "You get this big adrenaline rush and you go out there and you mess up your moves and your songs, everyone laughs and its great."
This kind of energy took hold of everyone involved, including actors like Pace and even reaching so far as the techies.
"It's definitely a lot of work, but they were really well organized," says Zack Thal '14, a member of the tech crew. "They knew exactly what lights they wanted where, there was no guesswork. … They prepare for the craziness of the 24-Hour Musical."
This kind of organization is evident, and is especially impressive considering the short length of time everyone has to prepare. In order to make this situation easier, the direction was split three ways between Aliza Sebert '12, Jeremy Weinberg '12 and Abigail Clarke '12. This was done in order to ensure maximum attention was given to each aspect of the show (and to prevent them all from going insane).
"We split up the scenes pretty evenly," says Clarke. "Each of us has one or two big numbers with full cast members, and then we each have a couple smaller scenes."
This seems like a good way to handle the situation, though some of the cast admit that despite all the fun, the process really can be a bit daunting.
"I find it a very enjoyable process, but I will admit at times it is quite frustrating," comments Sophie Golomb '13 (Twinkie Girl) "It's supposed to be all fun and games, but then you're like, ‘But wait, I have to go in front of people! So I have to take this somewhat seriously.'"
In the end it is clear that these daunting challenges proved worthwhile.
Sebert, in reference to the actors, comments, "I hardly told them anything, and they did exactly what I had in mind and even more—and they did that over and over again in 24 hours. That's why the show worked so well, because the people who were acting had so much creativity. They just had fun and went crazy and they blew me away. I'm just so proud."
As she should be—every cast and crew member brought his or her utmost devotion to this show. The result is a wholehearted and engaging performance that proves why the 24-Hour Musical is such an essential part of the Brandeis experience.