“The Wedding Singer” cast and crew preparing for just about anything


Cast of The Wedding Singer rehearses in the auditorium.

Cassidy Laffey

With an entirely new directorial staff and a pandemic to navigate around, the spring musical has had to conquer many unique obstacles. This process started with the search for and filling of leadership positions, holding blind auditions, setting up call-backs, losing the rights for the original show and then securing the rights for a new one, “The Wedding Singer”.

According to Assistant Director and Vocal Coach Mrs. Jennifer Birch, this show is full of “love, laughter, dashed dreams, and the penultimate realization of even bigger, better dreams!”

“The Wedding Singer” is based off of the Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore movie that is set in the 1980s. It’s a fun show that follows Robbie, a wedding singer with a broken heart, and his journey with his co-worker, Julia. There is dancing, singing, and a ton of 80s flair.

Options for shows this year were limited because only certain shows offer streaming rights, which is a safety net that is considered a necessity this year because of the uncertainty concerning COVID-19.

Getting rights to any show is a challenge, but an additional challenge was the unfamiliarity that new director Mr. Anthony Martello had with the Shaler Area talent pool. He wanted to pick a show after he saw what he was working with. At first, he had a list of three potential shows in his head, none of which were “The Wedding Singer.”

We’re figuring this out as we go, to be honest. We have plans A, B, C, D, and so on, but we have to be ready for plans E through Z

— Mr. Anthony Martello

“The cast impressed us so much that we had to find a show that would showcase as many of them as possible — from a vocal and dance perspective,” Martello said.

This year is anything but normal because of COVID-19, and the directors had to completely reimagine what a practice would look like. There are concerns with how the sound travels when the cast is singing. There is a need for projection so Mrs. Birch can hear where the problem areas are in a song, but with the masks, it is much easier for the singers to damage their voices. It has been a struggle to find the perfect balance.

Birch is optimistic though.

“We’ll make a new kind of magic if we have to,” she said.

The list of obstacles that the entirely new directorial staff, cast, crew, and pit must face also includes masks blocking expression, keeping six feet for social distancing, where to put the pit, etc.

“We’re figuring this out as we go, to be honest. We have plans A, B, C, D, and so on, but we have to be ready for plans E through Z,” Martello said.

The ensemble is broken in half to create pods so the same students are attending the same rehearsals, everyone’s temperature is taken, and every student must fill out a COVID screening form at the beginning of every rehearsal. Everyone is doing their best inside and outside of the rehearsal space to ensure everyone’s safety.

As of now, the plan for the show is to have no, or a very limited, audience in the auditorium, live stream every show, and have everyone on stage wearing masks. This is similar to the fall play, but as we all know at this point, everything is subject to change depending on the guidelines at the given time.

This show is an upbeat comedy that the audience is bound to love.

“This is an 80s rock show with some young adult humor.  We’re talking side ponytails, neon colors galore, and a lot of talent bursting off of the stage,” Martello said.

This show is definitely facing its fair share of challenges, but everyone is working to put on an amazing show, no matter if there is a live audience or live streaming.