The 1998 romcom The Wedding Singer has absolutely cemented itself in pop culture history.
Following Adam Sandler in the eponymous role, the film is an absolute riot of a time, and it’s no surprise that it was adapted into a Broadway musical in 2006. The show has music by Matthew Sklar and lyrics by Chad Beguelin, the dynamic duo behind other hit shows like The Prom, and book by Beguelin and Tim Herlihy, who wrote the original film. It’s a feel good bop-fest, with a few emotional gut punches for good measure, and it’s currently touring Australia!
Produced by David Venn Enterprises, the Australian tour of The Wedding Singer is helmed by a powerhouse production team of Director Alister Smith, Choreographer Michael Ralph, and Musical Director Daniel Puckey.
Alister is a Multi-Green Room Award nominated Theatre Director who’s arts practice expands across a wide range of performance mediums. He is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts (Theatre Directing) and The Arts Academy Ballarat (Company 2004 – Music Theatre Performance). Alister is also the founder and Artistic Director of The Smith Company & The Actor Workshop. His creative credits are extremely extensive, with some including Bring It On: The Musical (Australian Premiere – DVE), Romeo & Juliet (Essential Theatre), London Road (QLD Conservatory); Heathers! (Federation University), Macbeth (Essential Theatre), The Drowsy Chaperone (VCA Music Theatre), The Boys (VCA); and Much Ado About Nothing (VCA).
With The Wedding Singer already thrilling audiences in Adelaide, we had a quick chat with Alister about what the rest of us can expect to see in this neon lit, moonwalk-filled extravaganza.
How has it been working on a show post-2020?
Alister: Incredible! We have all been trepidatious about getting back in the room after having so long sitting in the wings waiting, but there is a new respect for the privilege of having work while both Broadway and the west end are closed. There is a deep appreciation for the work and for being able to create.
What has been the most challenging part of working on The Wedding Singer?
Alister: Time. This is a brand new production so this comes with countless challenges but we only ever have a finite amount of time. We are building this show from our imaginations and not from a prescribed version or blueprint, so it takes a lot of trial and error with exploring ideas and concepts, this requires time. It can be hard to abandon ideas after spending a great deal of effort getting things right only to find they don’t serve the story or image we are creating. I can spend months imagining things only to find that they don’t work once we get into the space. But that’s the process. Every wrong idea leads you towards the correct, this hunt can be exhausting, but oh so worth it when you arrive.
And the most exciting?
Alister: Seeing the vision come together. Seeing exactly what I have imagined and what we have collaborated on become a reality. A show of this size requires many people investing in the concept. When I see everyone from the cast, creatives, designers, mechanists, technicians working around the clock to bring our vision to life and then seeing the machine spring into life, is thrilling. Each cog is crucial and makes my heart explode.
Do you have a favourite moment in the show?
Alister: We have many fantasy sequences in this production and I love each time we get to spend a moment inside a characters imagination. It takes a lot of neon light and smoke to make them become a reality and this is always a thrill.
If you had to pick an 80s song to describe your life, what would it be and why?
Alister: ‘Hip To Be Square’ by Huey Lewis and the News. Since becoming a dad I have learned that there is much to be celebrated when it comes to getting to bed early and avoiding a hangover at all costs. It’s also a banger!
Why should audiences come and see The Wedding Singer?
Alister: Because it’s a Neon Dream! Forget the film, this is the only Wedding Singer you need. This cast is the best in the business and they are turning it out! It’s a steam train of energy and vibrance. Our world needs joy more than ever, this show will deliver that.
The Wedding Singer is currently playing in Adelaide, and will tour to Melbourne, Gold Coast, and Sydney.
For tickets and more information, visit weddingsingermusical.com.au