Does a wedding ever come off without a hitch? It seems that no matter how hard anyone tries to plan a perfect wedding, something always goes amiss. That’s why there have been plenty of comedies for stage and film based on that blissful day. It Shoulda Been You takes something old from former shows, like quarreling future in-laws, adds something new, like unexpected relationships and tops the cake in this uproarious production. Written by Brian Hargrove with music by Barbara Anselmi, there are enough surprises in this show to keep you laughing from start to finish.
When Rebecca, a Jewish girl, prepares for her marriage to Brian, a Catholic boy, and her former Jewish boyfriend Marty shows up determined to stop the wedding, her parents sing out the title song. Jenny is the bride’s smart and well organized sister who takes on the task of keeping everyone calm on the big day. She manages to keep her mother Judy from being too nasty to Georgette, the mother of the groom. She manages to take out a stain from the wedding gown, when the bride reads it as a sign and gets a sudden case of doubt. Jenny convinces her that she is doing the right thing. Jenny seems to handle each and every crisis brilliantly. However, not all is what it appears to be.
The play is set in the hotel where the wedding is about to take place. Whatever Jenny has not been able to see to, Albert, the extraordinary wedding planner has seen to. Just when the bride is dressed and the groom ready to go, something totally unforeseen happens. It is a hilarious turn of events that this critic will not ruin for future audiences and there should be many packed houses for this show because the entire cast is fabulous.
Even with strep throat, Juliette Koch as Jenny delivers a performance as sparkling as any champagne toast. Her voice is rich and expressive even on some of the hard to reach high notes.
She has a keen sense of humor and is so into her character that it is easy to forget that this woman is acting.
With Lea Dmytryck as director, it’s not surprising that this cast functioned like a professionally made floral arrangement. Music director Jim Luurtsema is a gifted musician who has such a fine orchestra that you’ll think the music is a recording. It’s not. You just don’t see the 10 outstanding musicians who perform below the stage.
Roger Grace cut right to the core as the wedding player. His comic timing was impeccable. Colleen Renzullo belies her last name as she embodies Judy Steinberg, a perfect Jewish mother. Lynn Wilson adds color and flair with each of her unexpected entrances and Conrad Sienkiewicz milks his comic moments just enough as the bride’s uncle. Robert Kwalick as father of the bride has great stage presence along with a rich voice and comic flair.
Jennifer Sokira as the bride Rebecca couldn’t have been better cast in the role. She looks like a real sweetheart, but manages to be a heartbreaker as well. Best of all, she can turn the tables upside down and still end up sweet. Jonathan Zalaski as the groom kept the audience wondering about his next move when his father tells him to give his bride a prenup contract to sign. Joe Guttadauro proves that he really is the groom’s best man, and Laureen Monge made quite a maid of honor. Elyse Jasensky as mother of the groom comes across loud and clear that she doesn’t want to lose her son to another woman and Steve Sorriero pulls out all the stops as a not so huggable dad. Last but definitely not least is the outstanding performance delivered by Eric Lindblom. Kudos to the entire cast and orchestra.
Dave Boscarino’s set design was picture perfect as the interior of a posh hotel. Phoebe Katzin’s costumes were wedding appropriate and Peggy Terhune’s choreography flowed well with the action. All of the production staff contributed to a memorable production. The show plays through April 28. If you want a fun night out, don’t miss this show. Box office: 860-491-9988.
Joanne Greco Rochman is a founding member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and is an active member in the American Theatre Critics Association. She welcomes comments. Contact: [email protected]