‘The Wedding Singer’ is fun union of music, comedy

Spencer Kury and Kyleigh Friel star in Vienna Youth Players' production of "The Wedding Singer." (Photo by Paul Ward)

Falling in love can be arduous, but Vienna Youth Players’ production of “The Wedding Singer” brings a light touch to the maddening process.

The play, a 2006 musical adaptation of the 1998 movie starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, is a hilarious and bawdy take on the classic story of boy-finally-meets-the-right-girl. Director and choreographer Nicole Pradas elicits some fine work from the 35-member cast in this uplifting show.

The title character is Robbie, who performs at weddings and lives in a basement room in the New Jersey house of his exercise- and sex-obsessed grandmother. Part of his professional shtick is speaking in a stream of song titles.

Robbie is preparing for his own wedding day, when he will be hitched to Linda (Kirsten Tierney). Those plans get scuttled when the flighty bride-to-be, who’d hoped to marry a rock star instead of a workaday singer, stands him up at the altar.

Robbie does not take this betrayal well, and it transfers over to his work, especially in one uproarious scene.

Meanwhile, waitress Julia (Kyleigh Friel) is engaged to serial cheater Glen (Paul Ward), a sleazy, rich Wall Street businessman who does business with soon-to-be-convicted insider trader Ivan Boesky.

Robbie and Julia meet at a wedding and become friends. They’re obviously perfect for each other, but  circumstances never seem to line up in their favor. It will take a trip to Las Vegas, further enlivened by a group of celebrity impersonators, to bring the stars back into proper alignment.

The play pays homage to one of the cheesiest and most readily parodied decades ever, the 1980s. Glen wears pastel jackets and loafers without socks in an homage to the iconic television show “Miami Vice.”

Ward is appropriately smooth and detestable as Glen, whose obsession with greed and ruthlessly getting ahead in the corporate world mirror the decade’s prevailing mindset. When fundamentally decent Robbie tries to enter Glen’s world out of desperation, it’s easy to predict the result.

1980s buffs also will be tickled by Robbie’s bedroom, which is outfitted with a vibrating, allegedly disinfected motel mattress and has walls decorated with vintage album covers.

Spencer Kury did a fine job playing Robbie on opening night, capturing the character’s vulnerability and despondency. The role in some other performances will be played by P.J. Pavot.

The supporting players add much to the mix. Megan Delaney is kindly and randy as Robbie’s grandmother, enlivening every scene she’s in. Mathew Sikes and Teagan Wopat (who also is the show’s costume designer) serve well as Robbie’s loyal bandmates. Angelina Cate is entertaining as Julia’s spunky friend Holly.

Although the play features some language that’s a little too crude for very young viewers, the script and music are lively and the dance numbers (led by Olivia Lampel, Hannah Swim and Ava Bredehoeft) provide some key highlights.

The performers, all of whom still are young enough to be buffeted wildly by romantic fortunes, seem to identify well with the forces tugging at their characters.

“The Wedding Singer” has just three more performances – Aug. 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Aug. 11 at 1:30 p.m. – at the Vienna Community Center, 120 Cherry St., S.E. Tickets cost $15 and may be purchased at www.viennava.gov/webtrac or in person at the community center.

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