Having spent five years on the producing team of a Daytime Drama, attending a performance of the Off-Broadway comedy My Big Gay Italian Wedding during “Soap Week” was a must-see. From Thursday March 17 through Saturday March 19, five leading ladies from New York City based soap operas took the stage. One Life to Live’s Ilene Kristen (Roxie) has already been appearing in the Off-Broadway comedy, portraying the wild and outspoken Aunt Toniann, but for a limited engagement she had some of her co-stars and other soap actors join in on the fun! One Life to Live's Kristen Alderson (Starr) portrayed Maria, the younger sister of the main character, with dreams of becoming a Broadway singer, and Brittany Underwood (Langston) played the sassy lesbian Lucia. As The World Turns’ Ellen Dolan (Margo) and Marnie Schulenburg (Alison) took on the roles of Angela, the smothering Italian mother and Connie, the fiesty ex-girlfriend of Lucia, respectively.
My Big Gay Italian Wedding focuses on two gay men from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn as they plan their wedding, along with their stereotypical family and friends causing trouble, including an overbearing Italian mother, a jealous ex-boyfriend with a Fire Island tale of cheating to reveal, an eccentric wedding planner from Hell, and a pedophilic priest, just to name a few of the over-the-top characters. My Big Gay Italian Wedding, stars Anthony J. Wilkinson, who is also the play’s writer, as Anthony Pinnunziato, a gay Italian man, born and bred in Brooklyn, spoken with a dead-on New Yawk accent. Anthony carries the show, as he makes you laugh and sigh, while you root for his love to succeed. Ilene Kristen of OLTL fame steals the show with her sass and comic timing. Brett Douglas, who originated the role of Maurizio Le Grande is also a stand out performer who commands the stage, while he evokes roaring laughter from the crowd. Erik Ransom, who flamboyantly originated the role of Rodney Jones, brings the audience to happy tears with his cross-dressing antics and feisty Venezuelan accent. The soap opera duo of Marnie Schulenburg and Brittany Underwood, the ex-lesbian couple, played off each other perfectly with their constant arguments and sexual tension. These actresses performed with ease, as these roles were much less dramatic than their years in Daytime Television. Ellen Dolan smoothly transitioned from the sensible and level headed Margo Hughes, whom she portrayed for twenty years on As The World Turns, to the hyperventilating Italian mother, Angela Pinnunziato.
With lines updated in the script poking fun at current topics, ranging from stabs at Charlie Sheen to Sarah Palin, the audience can’t help but enjoy their night of silly theater. My Big Gay Italian Wedding may not seriously address the issues of gay rights and marriage, but the fluff and fun had on stage makes for a great escape from the hate and prejudice in everyone’s daily lives.
My Big Gay Italian Wedding is directed by Teresa A. Cicala with Executive Producers Sonia Blangiardo and Dina Manzo, of The Real Housewives of New Jersey fame. For tickets visit Telecharge.