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Archive for Sunday, July 15, 2001

s Wedding

July 15, 2001

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jludwig@ljworld.com

Picture tacky bridesmaid dresses that are 10 times worse than you've seen at any wedding.

Add the boisterous in-laws, the bride's fussy mother and the couple who just wants to enjoy the evening -- and you wind up with a hilarious play.

The Lawrence Community Theatre is planning a second run of "Tony n' Tina's Wedding," a production that also will serve as the theater's major fund-raiser. Director Mary Ann Saunders said tickets sold well last year and people asked whether the theater would do the play again.

"For anyone who came last year, it's going to be different," she said. "Every cast member brings something different to the show."

The play focuses on the wedding ceremony and reception of Tony Nunzio and Valentina Vitale, who have been dating for a long time.

"They're not as huggy, clingy and kissy as a newlywed couple would be," Saunders said. "Tina just wants to have fun, and Tony is a macho man who's in charge and tries to keep everything together."

The large, tacky wedding takes place at Vinnie Black's Chapel of Love (a.k.a. Lawrence Community Theatre, 1501 N.H.) followed by a full Italian dinner and dancing at the reception hall (a.k.a. The Dance Academy, 11th and Massachusetts streets). Everyone will receive a complimentary glass of champagne or sparkling cider to toast the newlyweds. A cash bar is available 30 minutes before the ceremony and throughout the reception.

The happy couple is even registered at Cottin's Hardware and Rental -- listing gifts such as paint, nails and other supplies the theater needs.

Of course, the night is marked by family squabbles and unexpected guests.

"It's like everything you've ever seen go wrong or funny in a wedding -- that happens all in this one wedding," Saunders said.

Plus, she said the improvisation and interaction with the audience makes the play different each night.

"We want the audience to have so much fun that they leave in tears," Saunders said.

That means an extra 30 minutes of dancing at the reception, including a snowball dance and conga line. But, Saunders said audience members are welcome to sit back, relax and enjoy the show as well.

"We really encourage people to participate at the level they want to," she said. "People can sit out if they want, but if they want to get out and boogie down, that's OK, too."

Saunders encourages couples or small groups to make a night out of the show.

"You can get a whole herd together and have a lot of fun," she said.

About 150 tickets are available each night for the four-day production.

"Anyone who wants tickets better hurry fast," Saunders said.

-- Staff writer Joy Ludwig can be reached at 832-7144.

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