|Brett Douglas “Maurizio”|
When Anne Cahalane (Mom’s Thoughts Radio) told me about a special performance of My Big Gay Italian Wedding featuring a special appearance by Mob Wives Karen Gravano and Ramona Rizzo I was interested. When she threw in an invite to see it with a group of fabulous tweeple (complete with an exclusive dinner party before hand) I was flattered, and completely sold. My assistant Melissa and I purchased our tickets and the countdown began!
The evening started at NYC Midtown eatery Etc. Etc. in a private upstairs dining room. There was a 3 course prix fixe meal for $32 (a bargain in NY!) The food and company was great. A room full of fabulous girls and gays. Only odd thing was that the gays were on one side of the room and the girls on the other. “Trust me, everyone will mingle after the show,” Anne told me. One could only hope so, after all I had come out for a night of My Big Gay Italian Wedding, not “My Big Gay Hasidic Wedding.”
|Daniel Robinson “Andrew”|
With dinner ending just 5 minutes before the show we were the best dressed sprinters in NY making the 2 block dash to the St. Luke’s Theatre on 46th Street. For those not familiar with NYC theatre life, St. Luke’s is an Off-Broadway venue (smaller theaters than Broadway). We arrived shortly before the show began surprised to see that we had front row seats thanks to Anne’s early invite!
MBGIW is the brainchild of writer Anthony Wilkinson, a “three time Daytime Emmy Award winner, and four time recipient of the Directors Guild of America Award for his work on ABC’s One
Life to Live.”
|Anne Calahane (Mom’s Thoughts)|
The show first opened in 2003 and has had several successful runs. Though he now resides in Dallas, Wilkinson loves being able to bring MBGIW back to NY. In addition to being the writer he plays the lead role, Anthony Pinnunziato, a recently engaged gay man who has to convince his traditional Italian parents to throw him the Italian wedding of his dreams. He has several obstacles to overcome in order for this to happen, including gaining the support, and matrimonial services, of his family priest (Chad Kessler), and the attendance of the unwilling mother of Andrew(Daniel Robinson), his groom to be.
|SHOP OUR HOLIDAY BAZAAR AND ENTER OUR $700 GIVEAWAY HERE!|
|Karen Gravano and Ramona Rizzo
|Judy Torres “ToniAnn”|
The large cast, directed by General Hospital’s Sonia Blangiardo, consists of a great group of actors with various credits from stage, television, and film. Playing Anthony’s Aunt ToniAnn is Freestyle music legend Judy Torres whose hair is higher than some of the notes she hits. (ToniAnn is also played by songstress Kim Sozzi some nights). Audience members will be treated to snippets of Torres’s music throughout the show. (I’m assuming the same is true of Sozzi when she plays the part). In addition to music there are some dance scenes that are very well choreographed by J.Austin Eyer.
The show is very well acted. Three standouts the evening I attended were Brett Douglas, Erik Ransom, and Meagan Robar. Douglas is flamboyantly hilarious as wedding planner Maurizio Le Grande. His character reminded me of Martin Short’s Frank in Father of the Bride. If you are in the front row, beware of his critical eye. My high boots were eyed by the snarky Le Grande and I was dubbed “hooker boots” and the joke became a running gag the entire second act.
Ransom is brilliant as the cross dressing queen Rodney. He has great comedic timing and razor sharp sarcasm. Plus the guy rocks heels and a dress better than many women I know.
Robar plays bridesmaid Connie. Her character is tough as nails and in a constant battle with fellow bridesmaid, and former girlfriend Lucia (Liz Gerecitano). Robar’s mannerisms and facial expressions are all very believable. She takes her craft to the brink without falling into overacting the role.
|RHONJ’s Kim Pirella|
If you have a chance to visit the St. Luke’s Theatre this holiday season this is a great evening out. My Big Gay Italian Wedding is loaded with laughs and a couple of warm fuzzy moments that made even this Bitch cry. However, if you are a devout Catholic that lacks a sense of humor I would abstain as you may get offended by the portrayal of the family priest. Also this is not an appropriate show for children. The profane language and sexual innuendo is for a mature audience. I spotted one child in the crowd, I can only imagine the conversation those parents had on the way home that night!