Whitney High flashes back to the 80s with ‘Wedding Singer’

By: Ilaf Esuf, Special to The Placer Herald
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Neon colors and big hair will grace Whitney High’s stage as the cast flashes back to the 1980s for the premier of “The Wedding Singer.”

Whitney High theater teacher and director of the play, Rick Eldredge, said the play mocks “the ridiculous styles that emerged in 80s pop culture, music and fashion.”

“The Wedding Singer” is based off the 90s movie starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, in which Robbie Hart, a musician who makes a living by singing at weddings, is ironically left at the alter on his own special day. After some grieving and with a volatile return to his work, he befriends a waitress named Julia Sullivan. With the growth of their friendship, they fall in love, but must jump through hoops to be together.

Eldredge said the lead role of Robbie was difficult to cast, “because the actor cast must be strong, with a good singing voice. There is a shortage of guys who are strong singers and can also play a strong male lead. Luckily we found that person in senior Max Jacobs.”

The female cast was not as hard to select due to the abundance in female talent at Whitney – one of the main reasons Eldredge chose the play “The Wedding Singer,” he said.

“We always have strong female talent – and I want to use it,” he said.

Amy Burns plays the role of Julia, Robbie’s love interest, and Sierra Zellmer plays Holly, Julia’s eccentric friend. A Broadway play was recently done based off “The Wedding Singer” and Whitney will be the first high school in the Sacramento area to put on the production, according to Eldredge.

“It will be fun to be the first,” Eldredge said.

However, that also means lots of hard work.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is how much time is actually put into a show,” Zellmer said. “It takes a lot of work to be involved in a big show like ‘The Wedding Singer.’ Every day after school we rehearse for about two and a half hours. I never realized how much of a commitment it is, but it’s fun as heck.”

Though the play has been altered to accommodate new music, much of “it holds true to the comedic nature of the (original) film” said Jacobs, a two-time lead.

Adults and teenagers can attend the play for $10, seniors and students can get in for $7. Due to some adult content children are not advised to attend.

The last play at Whitney High School sold out and the cast of Whitney High’s “The Wedding Singer” said they hope this one will be too.

“If the audience likes the show, then we have definitely accomplished our goal,” Burns said. 

“The Wedding Singer”
When:  Performances at 7 p.m. Feb. 26-27 and March 5-6; 2 p.m. matinee performances Feb. 27 and March 6.
Where:  Whitney High School theater, 701 Wildcat Blvd.
Cost:  Tickets are $10 for adults and teenager; $7 for students and seniors; Tickets are available at the door.

For more photos: 'Wedding Singer' comes to Whitney High