I'm phobic about interacting with actors during a performance, so bravery was required for me to attend WhoopDeDoo Productions' Sweet-Cannoli Nuptials. It's Madison's take on a Tony 'n Tina-style faux wedding.
A spoiled Italian-American princess, Candelisa Cannoli (Jennifer Matthews), marries a nice Jewish boy, Samuel Sweet (John Mysliwiec), at the West Side Club with the audience as wedding guests. Mingling with cast members during the cocktail hour almost did me in, but once into the banquet hall and seated at a table with the bride's estranged parents, I relaxed a bit.
As Joe Cannoli, patriarch of the family, Michael Bruno (the show's director) displays a charming bravado and authenticity. Ronna Trapanese as Annie Cannoli is a bit over the top, but I found her name-checks of Fraboni's Deli and Morgan's Shoes endearing.
Camping it up as Lancelot Cannoli, the brother of the bride/frazzled wedding planner, is Donnovan Moen. My favorite moment of the evening was Moen's brief Riverdance-y jig. A close runner up was the newlyweds' first dance, set to Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me."
Surrendering to the experience, I did the Hokey Pokey and the Hora and even had fun doing them. Just as I was starting to enjoy the proceedings, things came to a halt with some business on the dais: gifts for the bride and groom; a dating game with wedding photographer Pavel (Jason Stephens); and some nutty revelations of family secrets. None of this was as funny as the more spontaneous action on the dance floor or at individual tables.
My favorite bridesmaid, Donna Smith (Karly Schafer), has just the right amount of tartness accompanied by incessant tugging at her strapless gown and lipstick reapplications.
If you're a frustrated performer or haven't been invited to any weddings this summer, this show may be your cup of grappa (or Manischewitz).