This one is definitely not just about the bride and groom.
It’s very much about the whole family and the hangers-on.
And the audience gets into the act, too.
The “intensive interactive theater” force known as “Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding” hits Hood River Sept. 14 for a total of six dinner shows over three weekends.
Combine the improvisational structure of the production and the offbeat location (Riverside Church) and it amounts to a theater production unlike any Hood River has ever seen. See page B10 for tickets and times of the newest Stages production of Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association (CGOA).
Peter Tappert directs the staging of a combined wedding of Tony (Murphy Jackson) and Tina Vitale (Dana Rae Tickner) in a 23-member cast that takes a basic structure of a volatile Italian-American wedding and brings into the story any audience members who want some interplay with the cast.
“We are having a lot of fun,” said Kathy Williams (Grandma Nunzio) at a recent rehearsal.
“The most pleasant surprise to me is how willing and enthusiastic the cast has been, committed to their characters from day one. I thought it would be more difficult than it was,” said Tappert, a veteran of numerous comic and dramatic productions, and an alumna of the Gorge improv group Perpetual Commotion from the late 1990s..
He said that as with short-form improv, the same principles apply: accept the truth of the scene and what’s happening around you.
“You don’t deny anything presented to you, from audience or another cast member, you accept it as a reality,” Tappert said, noting that the cast is now versed in including, or not including, audience members only to the extent that they want to join in. Anyone can attend and treat it like any other theatrical show, and sit back and watch.
Or join in, but the main protocol is this: wait for cues from the cast members and go from there.
This is a comedy that can veer any number of ways from the story of young lovers and their quirky family members. Throw in wine-soaked toasts, parental hanky-panky, a jealous ex-boyfriend, a “dollar dance”, cringe-worthy standup, marginal ‘80s pop, and a whole lot of other revelry, and you have a night of unpredictable fun.
“What I want people to walk away with is the fact that, say you go with your significant other, you will have a different experience than they will,” said Tappert, “just because you’ll have different reactions, and as you leave the wedding you’ll compare notes.”
Tappert said one of his mentors, CGOA executive director Mark Steighner, told him, “when you perform any musical, every person gets to be their own, gets to create their own thing, watch whatever you want, so everyone experience is going to be different.”
“But this takes that to an extreme,” Tappert said.
Here is the full list of the wedding party and friends:
- Mother of the Bride, Josephina Vitale (Julie Hatfield)
- Brother of the Bride, Joseph Vitale (Justin Danner)
- Great Uncle of the Bride, Luigi Domenico (Brian Morris)
- Aunt of the Bride, Rosie Domenico (Kathleen Morrow)
- Cousin of the Bride, Sister Alberta Maria Vitale (Rachel Moore-Beitler)
- Grandmother of the Groom, Angela Nunzio (Kathy Williams)
- Best Man, Barry Wheeler (Reuben Betts)
- Groomsmen, Johnny Nunzio; Brother of the Groom, Texx Spezia-Schwiff; Dominic Fabrizzi (Kobel WeaverLi)
- Maid of Honor, Connie Mocogni (Anastasia Taylor)
- Bridesmaied, Donna Marsala (Jenny Howard) and Marina Galino (Amber Scheaves)
- Father Mark (Matt Rankin); Celeste Romano (Jen Hanlon-Wilde); Donny Dolce (Jason Hartmann); Michael Just (Nathan Daniel); Sal Antonucci (Rosemary Shephardson); Tony Nunzio, Sr. (Jason Carpenter); Vinnie Black (Levi Beckman); Loretta Black (Barb Berry); Madeline Monroe (Sienna Reynolds); Mikey Black (Zach Dunlap).
- Production manager: Emily Vawter; Assistant to the Director: Barb Berry; Choreographer, Meg Tappert; Costumes, Rosemary Shephardson, Barb Berry, Kathy Peldyak
‘Baseball’ trio of one-acts at ACT
Just in time for the Major League Baseball playoffs’ run-up come three one-act plays on a local stage, all involving baseball.
The production is “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie & ?” Sept 14-16 at Adult Center Theater, completing its first season.
“It matters not if you like baseball — ACT’s three one-act plays at the Hood River Valley Adult Center are sure to bring you a heartfelt dose of tears and laughter,” said producer Gary Young.
The opening play, “Brick and Bertha,” tells the story of Hood River’s Stratton Gardens, and the day in 1946 when Brick faced the great Satchel Paige in a Portland tryout. It features Gary Young and Irene Fields in the title roles.
This will be followed by “Adam, Eve & The Chicago Cubs,” by Young, a former selection of Valdez, Alaska’s Last Frontier Theater Conference. In the cast are Michael Beckner, David Dye, Erik Lundby and Jessica Metta.
It’s a modern-day telling of Cain and Abel’s parents and the power of faith in family — and in a certain Midwest baseball team.
The evening concludes with Frederick Stoppel’s “Judgment Call,” a reprise from seven years ago, featuring Bill Weiler, Tom Burns and Kirby Neumann-Rea in their roles of umpires Harvey, Frank and Joe.
“Of all the plays I’ve been associated with,” said Tom Burns, “the one that people remember is “’Judgment Call’.”
Prior to the curtain going up on this ACT production, join the center for “Food on the Deck.”
Hot dogs ($2), brats ($3) and a slice of “Eve’s Apple Pie” ($3) and beverages will be available. Come early, dine and enjoy the show.
‘Go, Dog. Go’ at CCA
“Go, Dog. Go” brings the adventures of P.D. Eastman’s book to a stage in a frolicking musical dog party full of surprises, color, clowning, vaudeville, singing/barking and, of course, six lovable dogs.
The Columbia Center for the Arts Children’s Theater production runs Sept. 15-16, directed by Sullivan Mackintosh (adapted by Steven Dietz, Allison Gregory and Michael Koerne).
“Dog. Big Dog. Litle Dog. Big Dogs and Litle Dogs, Black and White Dogs,” the story begins, and things get wild and furry after that.
Not far behind are dogs on the water, dogs in houses, dogs in boats, and, of course, traveling dogs.
“Dogs in cars again, going away, going away fast.
“Look at those dogs go. Go Dogs, Go!”
Throughout the story repeats this classic canine exchange:
“Do you like my hat?”
“I do not like it.”
The cast of this preschool favorite has gone to the dogs — with cars, hats, audience participation, and even a wild game of ball as this hilarious visual spectacle manages to sneak important life lessons between innings.
TICKETS, TIMES, AND MORE
‘Baseball’ x three
Performances are Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14 and 15, at 7 p.m. and Sept. 16 at 2 p.m.; the plays total about 90 minutes including intermission, and has mature themes but is suitable for all ages.
Proceeds benefit the Hood River Valley Adult Center’s Meals on Wheels Program. Tickets are $10, at the door. An audience “Talk-Back” follows each performance. See page B1 for details on pre-game hot dog dinner. The center is located on the Heights on Sterling Place, next to Hood River Sports Club.
SPECIAL NOTE: This is ACT’s third and final show of its first season, and the first to employ both lighting and sound systems; Harold McBain, who runs sound, built and designed the set along with Irene Fields.
‘Go, Dog. Go.’
Performances are Sept. 15 and 16 at 1 and 4 p.m.
This play is appropriate for all ages (pre-kindergarten and older). Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for students/seniors/military, $10 for children under 10 years, and $10 for groups of 10 or more. For group tickets, come into the center or purchase via telephone at 541-387-8877 ext. 2. Tickets are avail-able at Columbia Center for the Arts, 215 Cascade Ave. Tickets are non-refundable.
SPECIAL NOTE: Audience participation is part of the “Go, Dog. Go” fun. Be ready to help bat around a big ball.
‘Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding’
Dinner theater dates are 6:30 p.m., Sept. 14-15; Sept. 21-22; and Sept. 28-29, all at Riverside Community Church, Fourth and State streets. Boda’s Kitchen provides the wedding dinners in the church Pioneer Room, after the ceremony.
Tickets, including dinner, are $35 or $30 for CGOA members; $20 for youths 10-17; and $15 for those under 10, at gorgeorchestra.org
Audience participation is involved, but not required.
SPECIAL NOTE: The wedding reception includes a traditional “Dollar Dance” with the money in the story going to the couple’s honeymoon; col-lected funds will in fact will be given to the Hood River Shelter Services to support the winter Warming Shelter for the homeless, which is located at Riverside Church.