The Wedding Singer

I came from a high school with about 500 kids in it. There were approximately 125 students in each grade. Out of the 125 in my grade, about ten of us were involved in theater. Out of those ten, there were seven girls and with the added factor of high schools always giving the leads to juniors and seniors, I was lucky enough to get a lead role in a few shows.

In my high school with very little competition, I was one of the more talented people but that was not the case when I came to Marist. I can sing, yes, but not nearly as well as all of the amazingly talented students in the Marist Singers program so when I went out to audition for the musical The Wedding Singer, it was an understatement to say that I was nervous. How was I supposed to compete with the fifty or so people auditioning for a play with enough parts for only about thirty people?

For auditions, we had to sing a 1980s pop song, in honor of the music style and the content of The Wedding Singer and we dressed up in eighties clothes (making it all the more fun)! The theater was crowded with people all dressed up with big hair, side-ponytails, mini-skirts, and leather jackets. I sang The Tide is High by Blondie and it went fairly well, except that I forgot a few words to the song. The second day of auditions was more my style—we had to do readings from the play (I feel much more comfortable acting than singing and dancing) but later came the dance part of auditions. I was terrified.

Now, when I say I can’t dance, I’m not looking for pity. It’s just the truth—I can’t dance. I have zero rhythm. I was dreading the dance part of the auditions. I can act. I can sing pretty well. But there was no way I could fake being able to dance.

Somehow, the director and choreographer must have seen past my lack of rhythm because by some stroke of luck, when I went to check the posted cast list, I saw my name on the list. I was in the show and I was ecstatic.

I love being involved in theater because theater gives me the opportunity to take something and make something amazing out of it. When we started rehearsing eight weeks ago, we had no set, we had no idea how to sing the songs, and (at least in my case) no dancing abilities. But by the end, we created a show that was absolutely amazing. We rehearsed for eight weeks and it was a ridiculous amount of work: we had hours upon hours of rehearsal every week, we sweat at dance rehearsals, we pushed our voices at singing rehearsals, we built ourselves a set in the spare time we had.

Our set was beautiful—it looked like a real banquet hall for weddings (I learned how to use a power drill and a table saw in the process of helping to build it!). Our singing was awesome. And our dancing—dare I say it—was completely on point. I don’t know how I did it, but I learned to dance. I thought I would never get it. Up until the last two weeks of rehearsal, I struggled to remember the dance steps and when I did remember them, I found that I was completely out of sync with the rest of the cast. But I worked my hardest to learn and I was so proud of myself!!

To promote the show, we gave out free “wedding” cake around campus and some of the boys in the cast “proposed” to girls walking by as they were walking to class. We also attempted to do a flash mob in the cafeteria which was a lot of fun (but perhaps could have used a bit more practice).

Wedding Singer Flash Mob in the dining hall

This past weekend, we had five performances and they were all amazing. The Wedding Singer is a fun show: it’s funny, it’s fun, it’s high energy the entire time. Going to rehearsals and going to the performances was a blast because doing the show gave me the ability to forget all of my problems and completely engulf myself in the eighties, which, by the way, is a cooler decade than I ever realized. I loved the costumes and hair we were in for this show: we had to tease our hair and it was BIG. We wore bright colors, leggings, jean jackets, and parachute pants. It was totally awesome.

A bunch of alumni came to see our show one night and a few of them told me that this was the best show they had ever seen done at Marist. It was a fantastic feeling.

After the last performance, the entire cast seemed to be in a quiet daze. We didn’t want it to end; we all had so much fun together. Our cast and crew became so close by the end of the show and we couldn’t imagine not seeing each other every day for HOURS on end like we’d been doing for the past eight weeks.

I’m so happy and so lucky that I was able to be a part of this show. The people involved were amazing. The show turned out amazing. And my experience was amazing. I LOVE THE WEDDING SINGER AND MARIST THEATER 🙂

Amanda Urban

Class of 2013

If you want to see more information about theater at Marist, check out the Marist College Council on Theatre Arts website at http://clubs.marist.edu/mccta/. You can also find them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/groups/227860403915589/ or follow them on Twitter (@MCCTA).

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