Wedding #1 for the #1 Wedding. The 2014 Times Square Cast did our first show, our “dress rehearsal” last night. We had a ball and it went off without a hitch – a technical miracle. It was my first Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, ever. Other cast members have hundreds and thousands of Tony n’ Tina nuptuals under their belt. Including our wonderful director Tony Lauria, who started off as Michael Just, the bride’s X, and ended up as Donny Dolce the self-absorbed but awesome wedding singer. When our director sings Sinatra to us in rehearsal and microphone testing, I close my eyes, and I feel like Frank is in the room.
I could feel the expertise and ease of the seasoned members of the cast. They know what we are there to do. Their back stories are American dreams. Denise Fennell joined the show in Boston over a decade ago playing the stripper Madalyn Monroe, and went on to play Tina among other roles. Now she grew up into playing Mrs. Josephine Vitale, mother of the bride. She makes a stunning entrance in a floor-length black gown reminiscent of a scintillating Morticia archetype, tall, sexy, thin, with Cher good looks and an expression on her face that will stop your heart. She whips comments off to instigate family arguments. To me, as Grandma Nunzio, grandmother to the groom, she taunts, “I’m cooking Thanksgiving! I do all the cooking.” I didn’t have a well-oiled response for her. Her searing expression shredded me and stopped me in my tracks. But now that I’ve had a night to sleep on it I can’t wait to get back into the ring, to Wedding #2 this Thursday night where Grandma Nunzio can verbally spar with her over who really cooks for the holidays. There’s no way Grandma Nunzio will let Josephine Vitale get away with that.
When Tony, the groom, played by stud Joe Ferraro, took off his shirt, I heard the young straight girls in the crowd swoon, “What a six-pack.” Yes, his athletic prowess is phenomenal. He dances and runs his antics easily for hours at a time. The groom doesn’t get to flirt with the girls in the audience. He’s in love with Tina. The charming groomsmen on the other hand are on it, inviting girls to the dance floor over and over. Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding is a great place for singles to meet someone.
Bridesmaid Marina, played by the powerhouse Marisa Perry, tops the night when she sings “Last Dance.” Yes, what a voice. This is what makes Broadway Broadway. The talent. It’s astounding to be chatting or arguing with Marina one minute and then hear her vocals blast out the Donna Summer chartbuster the next. Her voice leaves me reeling and will reel you to. What a way to end the night.
After the show I talked with some audience members who marveled over the knockout Concetta Rose Rella, who plays Nikki Black, daughter of the caterer. Nikki Black expresses her anger at her family by not smiling, not once for three hours. As Grandma Nunzio, I try to make her smile. I tickle her when we do the Conga dance. I tell her jokes. She doesn’t budge. She gets the transformation award. Without any wig or big costume changes, she transforms character with just facial and bodily expression. Stay around after the show to see her smile’s shine. You won’t believe it’s the same person. She goes from “knockout” to “facciabrutta” and back in an instance. That’s acting.
Get to this show as quickly as you can. You will want to come back again.
Dance with me at the wedding, —and come hungry! The vegetable pasta and salad and at Guy Fierri’s “Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar,” is marvelous. And the wedding cake by The Fashion Chef — is the best in town. This Italian ate well at the wedding. Good Italian bread. Good Vino. We’re all set. See you on the dance floor. Now click “Buy Tickets Now.”
Grandma Angelina Nunzio,
a.k.a. Annie Lanzillotto