musical: the wedding singer

"the musical" stars gian magdangal as robbie harti’m taking a break from reading filipino horror for today. instead, i’m going to be writing about 9 works theatrical’s production of THE WEDDING SINGER musical, which i watched last night.

THE WEDDING SINGER musical differs slightly from the movie version its based on in that it has less characters, and the worlds of the characters were made smaller. the three core characters: robbie hart, julia sullivan and glen gulia, all retain their same backgrounds from the movie. as does holly, julia’s cousin. the other characters though were tweaked to fit the smaller scale of the musical version.

most notably, robbie was given a grandmother in the guise of rosie, who was the old woman robbie taught singing lessons to in the movie; sammy, robbie’s best friend, went from limo driver to a band member; and george, the keyboardist of robbie’s band, is now very much part of robbie’s friend circle–and doesn’t get booed off stage.

the musical follows the same story that the movie has. except it has more songs and more jokes. and that, i think, was the reason why i didn’t enjoy the musical so much. the movie, while cheesy, was earnest in its message of true love. in the musical, the message seems to have gotten lost in the influx of double-entendres and angst.

still, 9 works theatrical production is good. gian magdangal, as the lead character, faltered a bit in the beginning, but let’s chalk that up to pre-wedding jitters. the rest of the cast were spectacular through and through though; particularly the actresses who played holly and rosie. my only disappointment was the less-endearing george, but i think that has more to do with the alterations in character than the portrayal of the actor.

my favorite performance would have to be holly and sammy’s “right in front of your eyes,” which had a throwback dance interlude taken from a madonna music video. “pop” was also memorable, but felt more HAIRSPRAY than THE WEDDING SINGER. though, that was the only original song i liked in the musical’s libretto.

they did use “somebody kill me” and “grow old with you” in the musical. the only two songs to survive the move from movie to musical. and while gian magdangal sounds good in “somebody kill me” (until midway, anyway), i couldn’t latch on to his earnestness in “grow old with you.”

most of my qualms about the musical really has to do with the material. but it’s still a very enjoyable production. and 9 works theatrical seems to have gone all out on the set. it was perfect. and the costumes? save for one dress that seemed more esmeralda (HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME) than julia sullivan, everything was stellar. the only thing i want to call out was the lights direction. it was good in some parts, and bad in some parts, and there were parts where you start to think “is it really supposed to be that dark? i can’t see anyone.”

THE WEDDING SINGER musical continues to play at the meralco theater until november 17. for tickets call ticketworld at 891-9999.

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