Preview: Pine-Richland rehearses 'The Wedding Singer'

by: Natalie Simon Updated:

The whole gang!

PITTSBURGH,None - Pine-Richland High School's  musicals are known for being big.  The school usually has a big cast, big stage and big set, but this year is a little different. 

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Because the high school is under construction, musical rehearsals and upcoming shows will take place at Pine-Richland Middle School. Despite the not-so-big stage and smaller cast, Pine-Richland is still putting on a show that has big personality and a lot of energy.

This spring, Pine-Richland will perform “The Wedding Singer."  The high energy, 1980s-infused rock comedy calls for a smaller cast of around 40, rather than Pine Richland's typical 80 member cast.

Those who made the cut have no complaints about this year’s musical choice.

“It’s really upbeat, fun and positive. The music is great, and it’s the type of show the audience loves,” said sophomore lead Abby Dionise, who plays the lovable Julia Sullivan.

Jeff Burgess, who plays Robbie Hart, is also in agreement with the musical selection.

“It’s thrilling to finally do a light-hearted show after years of dramas,” said Burgess.

It’s true; Pine-Richland hasn’t performed a comedy in a while, so everyone seems to be enjoying the long-lost silliness that comes with presenting a musical like “The Wedding Singer,” including alumni and director Tim Marquette. In his fourth year as director, Marquette knows just how enjoyable it is to contribute to a show of this caliber and watch the cast members transform into their comedic yet complex characters.

“I love to work with the students and help them grow as actors and people.  Seeing them build confidence and come out of their shells should make them all very proud.  There is nothing to compare to the feeling of the high school musical,” said Marquette.

Even though it is a comedy, it still requires an immense amount of dedication and liveliness, if not more. Sophomore Andrew Brevik, who plays George, the goofy Boy George wannabe band member, knows firsthand how demanding a comedic role can be. While his favorite aspect of playing George is the flamboyancy and comic relief the character provides, those facets are also the most testing.

“The most challenging thing about my role is the constant energy required for the part,” said Brevik. “But I enjoy it. I love everything about it.”

Everyone needs a great amount of energy to put on this show and Pine-Richland has it. When rehearsing the group number “Saturday Night” for the first time with the rock combo (the orchestra-turned-rock ensemble is smaller, too), it looked and sounded as if the cast had run through it dozens of times.

That’s the kind of performance you receive when working with a cast and orchestra full of natural talent.

Senior Raychel Shipley agrees.  Shipley plays Holly, Julia Sullivan’s feisty friend,  and enjoys the challenge of finding her character.  Like Brevik, Shipley’s favorite things about her role are also the most difficult.

“Holly is completely different than any role I have ever played.  She is so crazy and sassy, and I really had to work outside of my comfort zone to achieve that,” said Shipley.

Regardless of the challenges, the cast members look forward to performing their hilarious, out of the ordinary musical within the next few weeks.

With a cast who has an ongoing list of experience, ranging from years of voice lessons, acting lessons, participation in choirs and dance lessons, there’s no doubt “The Wedding Singer” will be hilarious, bold and of course, big.

“The Wedding Singer” will be performed: Thursday, March 15, 2012 - 7:30 p.m.;  Friday, March 16, 2012 - 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 7:30p.m.; Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 7:30p.m.; Friday, March 23, 2012 - 7:30p.m.; Saturday, March 24, 2012 - 2 p.m.  & 7:30 p.m.