Southeastern stages “The Wedding Singer” March 7-8

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Messenger photo by John Crutchfield Members of Southeastern High School’s cast for “The Wedding Singer” rehearse: (front row, from left) Kendall DeWine, Jillian Channell; (back row) Gavin Lloyd, Chaz Brown and Luke Arrick.
Messenger photo by John Crutchfield
Members of Southeastern High School’s cast for “The Wedding Singer” rehearse: (front row, from left) Kendall DeWine, Jillian Channell; (back row) Gavin Lloyd, Chaz Brown and Luke Arrick.

By John Crutchfield, Staff Writer

Shakespeare once said that love is a mere madness, and experience too often confirms this true. For those who enjoy a good love story and a little madness, Southeastern High School is staging its spring musical, “The Wedding Singer,” March 7-8.

Originally a 1998 film starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, “The Wedding Singer” is about the misadventures of young love. The story was adapted for the stage in 2006, opening on Broadway then touring the United States twice.

Laura Madden, play director and art teacher at Southeastern, chose “The Wedding Singer” for this year’s production for a variety of reasons.

 “I liked the story, it is a love triangle and I grew up with the music of the ‘80s,” she said. “It also is a story that showcases the talent of these young performers.”

Many students in the cast have been in shows in previous years.

 “We have a good mixture of vets and new people for this show. The juniors and seniors have taken the younger students under their wing and really helped them along,” Madden said.

 “There will be a few surprises, too. Ben Miller for example: This is his first show, but he is going to amaze everyone with his voice. Emily McCubbin is also going to surprise everyone in her role as Robbie’s grandmother.”

Madden said it has been a tough year with many practices cancelled due to snow.

 “The kids have really pulled together to make it happen,” she said.

Among those making it happen are junior Chaz Brown as Robbie Hart and sophomore Jillian Channell as Julia Sullivan. Brown brings substantial experience to his lead role and really identifies with his character.

 “Robbie loves what he does; he loves being a wedding singer. My favorite song in the show is ‘Wedding Day.’ He is just basking in it. I am very much the same way, the way I approach what I do,” said Brown who also appreciates the conflict experienced by his character. “A part of him has been broken, and he doesn’t know if he can get it back. If a wedding singer cannot find love, who can?”

Robbie’s counterpart is Julia. Though just a sophomore, Channell was selected for a lead role last year, too. The cast and director agree, she has an outstanding voice. Channell loves music and singing, being in the choir and in particular, being on stage.

 “As a kid, I loved watching Disney movies. I always wanted to be the princess,” she admitted with an embarrassed smile.

Being on stage gives her the chance to indulge that childhood wish, if only for a little while. Channell notes that her favorite song in the show is, “If I Told You.”

 “It is a very pretty song, and it brings the story together,” she said.

In praise of her castmates, she added, “The atmosphere is really great. We have become a family. I have a lot of good friends in this show.”

The Wedding Singer is no small production. The total cast and crew numbers 55. Among those joining Brown and Channel on stage are junior Gavin Lloyd as George, senior Kendall DeWine as Holly, senior Luke Arrick as Sammy, junior Ben Miller as Glen Guglia, sophomore Rylee Johnson as Linda, sophomore Emily McCubbin as Rosie and sophomore Miranda Bobst as Angie. Madden is joined on the production team by music teacher Kelly Gootee who manages the music, sound and choreography.

Performances will take place at Southeastern High School in South Charleston at 7 p.m. March 7 and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. March 8. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students. Proceeds go toward next year’s production.

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