In a few months time I’ll be performing in a show. I own a blog. Why, before now, have I not thought to combine them? Okay, we’re a couple of months into rehearsals, so this first part will be extra long and bring everything up-to-date.

Okay, The Wedding Singer. One of my favourite films and probably my favourite non-SciFi film. It’s a show I’ve always wanted to do (if you didn’t know already, I regularly perform in local amateur shows) and BMTG (Beeston Musical Theatre Group) are performing it. Actually, I was asked if I would be in it, rather than volunteering myself, which is always nice.

The musical runs along a similar storyline, albeit without the original pop songs (but it does contain the two original songs from the film). It would probably cost too much to have a musical using the pop music from the film so all the songs in this are new, written specifically for the show. However, they do sound very 80s and there are lots of nods to particular styles and musicians.

Now, personally, I hate any kind of audition – I can stand on stage, show week, in front of hundreds of people, but audition in front of a couple of people and I fall apart. But they made me audition anyway. And, you know, I wasn’t nervous and it went really well. The Musical Director, Nathan, is new to me but I like him – funny and generally likeable, he also has a ridiculous amount of energy and makes learning songs a lot more enjoyable than it can often be. He’s also only the second MD to recognise that I have a reasonably wide vocal range. His first job was to promise me lots of “interesting” singing parts, which he’s certainly delivered on – more on that in a bit.

So, now, a few months in, we’re already ahead of schedule. The opening dance number is hard on the legs (and particularly the feet). I’m not a good dancer, I’ll happily admit, and I don’t really have the fitness level for them most of the time but I’m certainly happy to do them – if I actually pull them off, there’s few things as satisfying! On Wednesday night we learnt another dance. It’s not as long but there’s less of us doing it so there’ll be more eyes on me, so possibly more important for me to get it right. I also have the excuse in the opening number of my character being very drunk so if I don’t get it right… that’s my character 😉

Speaking of characters, I so far have 4. In reverse importance level (as I see it)…

  • Mutant – if you’ve seen the film, you’ll know what I mean. The mutants are at the wedding where Robbie sings Love Stinks. In the musical it’s a song called Casualty of Love and is where the new dance routine comes in. With overtures of Thriller, it’s really good. And, thanks to Nathan, I get to sing Falsetto too (think Bee Gees).
  • Donny – in a scene that’s not from the film, Glenn and Julia visit a restaurant where he proposes to her. But not before virtually everyone else dining there also does. This includes me, as one of the proposing boyfriends. Laid back and a bit full of himself but it’s only 2 lines and no singing or dancing. However, I do get to do lots of pretend dining (so, working on my acting) and freeze framing.
  • Bum – Now, forever typecast as any show’s tramp, I get the chance to not only play a drunk, dress up badly but also, rap. Oh yeah. And the bum has a good few lines too. I’m still gutted that in the musical the line “sounds like a country song” is now Robbie’s!
  • David – Some may put these last 2 characters the other way round in importance, but I’m more excited by David, played by the amazing Steve Buschemi in the film. Robbie and I pretty much kick off the whole show and what a way to do it! I, the Best Man and Brother of the groom, get to ruin the wedding whilst pretending to be hideously drunk and being inappropriate with the women. I’ve already worked out a neat way to be sick down myself 😉 Anyway, here’s how it’s done in the film…

I’ve had lots of thoughts about the characters because I need them as distinct as possible. I’m growing my hair right now – I’ve not had it cut for a a good few months so should be a reasonable length in October. A day before the show I’ll then go to my hairdressers and get it trimmed into a lovely mullet. Before this, though, I intend to dye it – same colour, but to get rid of my grey. The bigger age difference I can get between the bum and my other characters the better. Everything else will be down to clothes, makeup and hair – for the bum, for example, makeup can be used to good effective to make someone look a lot older. I’ll probably have my hair covered for this too (or wear a grey wig).

So that’s it. I have some meaty parts, I get to dance (a lot) and I’m singing from bass to falsetto. This is really a show to get my teeth into and I’m genuinely enjoying the experience. I, now, literally have the t-shirt too.

ChrisBut I’m not the only one getting really involved in this show. The lead, a guy named Chris (right), right now doesn’t, well, look the part. With a long, straggly beard and matching hair, it’s doing an injustice to how good he really is in the role. This weekend, with sponsorship from friends and family, it’s all going. Well, most of it. By next week he’ll be sporting a lot less hair and looking a lot more like Robbie Hart. On top of that 3 of the cast are slimming down for the show, which is also being sponsored. If anybody thinks we don’t put “our all” into these shows, they’d be mistaken!

One down-note 1 (for me anyway) is that, for the first time, I’ve turned down a show with The Cast. I’ve done their last 4 shows but rehearsals for it starts in September and I really think I’m going to need a rest after The Wedding Singer. I wish them all the best, though, and will be cheering them, show week, from the audience.

Well, that’s the update. Expect Part 2 in due course as I have more news from the show! Meantime, if you’re interested in tickets you can head to our event page on Facebook for more details.

Read Part 2 >

  1. no pun intended[]