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'Singer' hits the right notes


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POSTED: Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Two talented actors are making their local stage debut in Diamond Head Theatre's Hawaii premiere production of “;The Wedding Singer.”; They debut here as members of a talented cast in a sparkling jewel of a show.

Victoria Morgan (Holly) is consistently delightful playing a woman who is bold, brassy, a little bit bawdy and just a touch trashy. Morgan dominates several scenes with stage presence to spare, then leads the cast through a beautiful staging of “;Saturday Night in the City”; which provides a perfect close to Act 1.

Theo Voudouris (Glen Guglia) likewise nails the all-important role of the sleaze-ball Wall Street insider who is obviously all wrong for his fiancee, Julia, the waitress/heroine of the story. Voudouris makes the most of his lead spot in “;All About the Green,”; a raucous ode to greed and materialism that is — unfortunately — as apt in 2009 as it was in 1985. He also radiates villainy with convincing style and finesse in other key scenes.

The story is an Adam Sandler movie brought to the stage, but the premise is vintage Broadway: Two people who are obviously right for each other don't see it because they're involved with people who are all wrong for them. And, each time it seems that they're going to connect at last, something happens to push them apart again.

WEDDING SINGER Robbie Hart's world is turned upside down when he gets dumped at the altar by his heartless fiancee, Linda, a woman for whom the term “;battle-ax”; would be too feminine a description. Meanwhile, Julia Sullivan, a waitress with a heart of gold, is head over heels for the callous stock broker

; Thomas McCurdy (Robbie) takes the Adam Sandler role and creates his own character. Katie Beth Hicks (Julia) is charming throughout as the starry-eyed waitress too naive and innocent to insist on better treatment from her fiance.

Several other cast members also deserve mention.

Justin-Patrick Hashimoto (George) gives an eye-catching performance as one of Robbie's band members, a musician of undetermined gender and/or gender preference. Hashimoto joins McCurdy and Garett Taketa (Sammy) in a hilarious number that depicts the “;wedding band”; playing a bar mitzvah; he then goes solo in a second bar mitzvah number, “;George's Prayer”; — it is a tremendous performance.

“;Dirty old men”; are rarely considered appealing or funny these days, but America has long loved feisty “;little old ladies.”; Nanilisa Pascua (Rosie) quickly became an audience favorite on opening night with her portrayal of Robbie's grandmother, a woman who tells him much more than he is comfortable hearing about her sex life.

Pascua rocked the house — literally — with Hashimoto in “;Move That Thang,”; a parody/tribute to mid-'80s rappers.

Ensemble member Eric Manke has a great scene as a stereotypical drunk best-man-from-hell, and Kyle Malis likewise steps forward for a scene-stealing performance as the “;bum”; in one of the big comic song-and-dance numbers in Act 2.

The story is set in the '80s, but it isn't necessary to remember that decade of greed, conspicuous consumption and yuppie smugness to be thoroughly entertained by the show. Consider the cell phone that requires a battery the size of a satchel, or Glen's smug statement that the government will never enforce the laws regarding insider trading.

And, get ready to rock when McCurdy and the ensemble become dancing zombies from “;Thriller”; during the darkly hilarious “;Casualty of Love”; number.

               

     

 

'The Wedding Singer'

» Place: Diamond Head Theater, 520 Makapuu Ave.

       

» When: 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays through July 26 (matinees at 3 p.m. Saturday and July 25)

       

» Cost: $12 to $42 (discounts available)

       

» Info: 733-0274 or www.diamondheadtheatre.com