Barbara Anselmi and Brian Hargrove’s 2015 Broadway show, “It Shoulda Been You,” looks at a wedding gone awry, combining farce with traditional musical elements, viewed through a 21st century lens. Theatre in the Park’s production entertains with some fresh new talent.
The plot concerns the wedding of Jewish Rebecca and Catholic Brian, each with an overbearing mother and a hen-pecked father. When Rebecca’s ex-boyfriend Marty shows up to stop the wedding, Rebecca’s sister Jenny renews her secret feelings for him.
Rebecca’s co-maid of honor, Annie, and Brian’s groomsman, Greg, each have their own unspoken love interests. Everything comes to a head, with secrets revealed and plans altered.
Alison Lawrence’s Judy has the stereotypical Jewish mother’s accent and bossiness down pat. Sandi Sullivan’s no-nonsense Georgette reveals she really doesn’t want her son to leave the nest. Both actresses nail their big show-stopping numbers.
Elizabeth Hankla’s moving characterization and appealing voice make Jenny’s plight sympathetic, aided by Greg Toft’s engaging Marty, his strong vocals matching beautifully with Hankla’s.
Mackie Raymond’s Rebecca and Tyler Graeper’s Brian have perky youthfulness, while Thomas Porter as Rebecca’s father, Murray, and Bobby Kaufman as Brian’s father, George, suffer their wives’ dominance with witty asides.
Tyanna West’s Annie and Edward Freeman’s Greg sing a hilarious duet about their true loves but both need clearer enunciation in their dialogue.
Brian Fisher plays wedding planner Albert too flamboyantly, getting easy laughs but cheapening the character. Matthew Tucker and Marcia Bridges amuse as hotel staff and other characters.
Director Jackson Cooper understands the genres present in the script, confidently staging it with echoes of the Broadway original. Bradley Barefoot contributes cute choreography, especially for Brian and George’s father-son soft shoe.
Nathaniel Conti’s expansive hotel setting accommodates the action with balconies and doorways. Diane Petteway keeps the eight-piece band bouncing but it’s distracting to see them backstage through the center double doors at every actor’s entrance. A number of late lighting cues and problems with performers’ mic levels should smooth out in time.
The bottom line
The two-act, two-hour script seems padded with some songs and scenes that stall the action. But there are enough clever lines and funny situations to make the show a worthwhile night out.
What: “It Shoulda Been You”
Where: Theatre In The Park, 107 Pullen Road, Raleigh
When: 7:30 p.m. June 21-23, 29-30; 3 p.m. June 24, July 1
Info: 919-831-6058 or theatreinthepark.com