Pic 3: The cast and creators of “My Big Gay Italian Wedding”
Pic 4: Ilene Kristen, Anthony Wilkinson (“Anthony”), Jason Cozmo as Liza”, Lady Clover Honey, David Moretti (“Andrew”), and Reigning Miss New York Claire Buffie
“MY BIG GAY ITALIAN WEDDING“:
I Now Pronounce You Anthony and Andrew
In “My Big Gay Italian Wedding”, the audience is warmed up by the high-spirited, oh-so-familiar beat of the tarantella– with three muscular guys and three hot women on stage showing their impressive dancing skills (complete with tambourines!). As the melody morphs from traditional Italian folk into heavy techno-house, two of the men pair off to the right, two of the women pair off to the left, and the remaining boy-girl couple is left in between. Talk about “something for everyone”! You’ll soon realize that this is not going to be your typical catered affair…
Our story begins with sweet-natured, highly animated Anthony Pinnunziato (Anthony Wilkinson, who also wrote the play) making a big announcement to his Italian-American Brooklyn family. Our hero has just gotten engaged– but not to a Teresa or a Gina. He’s getting hitched to hunky Andrew (David Moretti, best known for his role on here!TV‘s “The Lair“). Anthony’s parents, Angela (Randi Kaplan) and Joseph (Joe Scanio), are not exactly delighted but are still gingerly accepting. As it turns out, though, the family’s reaction becomes the least of the two grooms‘ worries. In addition to all the assorted craziness that ensues as the two boys plan their big day, Andrew’s bitchy ex-boyfriend Gregorio (Dave Carpenter, whose biceps are big enough to feed a whole village in Sicily…) is threatening to reveal a sexual revelation that could call off the nuptials altogether. Eventually, Anthony and Andrew do make it to the altar, in a ceremony officiated by… “One Life to Live”’s Ilene Kristen! But don’t think that the craziness ends with “I do!“. The big gay Italian reception follows. And, we’re all invited!
Sweet as cannolli cream, “My Big Gay Italian Wedding” is “big” in every sense of the word… and I don‘t just mean the big hair of the women in the play. The cast is big, with 16 colorful characters. The performances are big, with the actors performing every scene with loving gusto. And, most importantly, the laughs are big. As the hyperventilating, over-protective Mama Angela Pinnunziato, Randi Kaplan is an absolute riot. The rest of the cast tries to ascend to her level of outrageousness, and a few do come close– especially Chad Kessler as closet case Father Rosalia, Brett Douglas as Maurizio the wedding planner (Retrieve the word “flamboyant“ out of your vocabulary‘s recycle bin…), and Liz Gerecitano and Meagan Robar as a pair of feuding lesbian ex-lovers who make the girls from “Jersey Shore” look like a pair of wallflowers. The legalization of gay marriage is considered by many GLBT’s to be the most important issue of our generation. But even if marriage equality wasn’t the current hot topic that it is today, the themes of “My Big Gay Italian Wedding” are timeless: the importance of family (biological or otherwise), acceptance, love, and of course, equality. “My Big Gay Italian Wedding” is indeed an equal opportunity laugh riot. During the play’s intermission, the audience is treated to a medley of just about every wedding song ever written, and we also get to hear the classic “That’s Amore”. That song perfectly describes how I feel about this play!
“My Big Gay Italian Wedding” is directed by Teresa A. Cicala, choreographed by J. Austin Eyer, and features original music & lyrics by David Boyd. The play is running at The St. Lukes Theater, at 308 W. 46th St., NYC. For tickets and showtimes, visit Telecharge.com or call (212) 239-6200. For more about “My Big Gay Italian Wedding“, visit http://www.BigGayItalianWedding.com.
“My Big Gay Italian Wedding” has a history that’s as colorful as the fashion sense of the characters in the play. The comedy was written by Award-winning actor/playwright Anthony J. Wilkinson, with original music and lyrics written by David Boyd. It premiered in 2003 at the Actor’s Playhouse in New York City’s West Village, where it was performed alongside the wildly popular musical “Naked Boys Singing”. The production moved uptown to Theater Four on West 55th Street, where it played for another 38 weeks. Among the new cast was James Getzlaff, star of Bravo’s “Boy Meets Boy”. On September 12, 2009, a revised version of the play, produced by Dina Manzo (“The Real Housewives of New Jersey”), was performed as a one-night-only benefit at the St. George Theatre in Staten Island. Actor Scott Evans of “One Life to Live“ played Andrew. “My Big Gay Italian Wedding” then found its current home with a new cast in May 2010 at The St. Luke’s Theatre, on New York City’s famous Restaurant Row. In August 2010, it was announced that “Real Housewives of New Jersey”’s Teresa Giudice, Caroline Manzo, Lauren Manzo, Jacqueline Laurita and Ashley Holmes would step in as cast members for one week in September. After sold-out performances, the Housewives signed up to repeat their guest appearances from October 20th to the 23rd. Radio psychologist and author Dr. Joy Browne also joined the cast for three performances, from September 30th to October 2nd. The 100th performance of “My Big Gay Italian Wedding” on Thursday, November 18th featured the debut of out actor David Moretti (here!TV’s “The Lair”) as Andrew. Prior to Moretti, the role of Andrew had been played by actors Reichen Lehmkuhl (CBS‘ “The Amazing Race”, LOGO‘s “The A List”) and Daniel Robinson (Casper Andreas‘ “The Big Gay Musical”). The 100th Anniversary show also featured Special Guest Appearances by actress Ilene Kristen (“One Life to Live”), the Reigning Miss New York Claire Buffie (a huge advocate for marriage equality), Jason Cozmo as “Liza“, and “Under the Pink Carpet TV”’s Lady Clover Honey. And of course, there was cake for the whole audience! The latest celebrity to join this wedding party is Tabatha Coffey, star of Bravo’s “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover”. Tabatha will appear for three performances only, from December 2nd through the 4th. Start planning your outift!