Deptford High School’s theater department brings the ’80s back

Deptford Township High School's theater department is performing The Wedding Singer, the musical, from March 5 to 7.

(From middle to right) The Wedding Singer’s Julia Sullivan and Glenn Guglia, played by freshman Gianni Lewis and junior Santos Diaz, dance their heart out in a scene during rehearsal a week before opening night in Deptford Township’s auditorium.

The hair is big, greed is good and the collars are up. It isn’t 1985 in New Jersey. It’s the last week of rehearsals at Deptford Township High School for the upcoming musical, “The Wedding Singer.”

Based on the hit Adam Sandler movie of the same title, the school’s theater department is excited to bring this show to the stage for the first time. 

“I loved everything about the ’80s and I love sharing it with the kids. The show is pure comedy, and the hair, makeup and costumes put it over the top,” said director and vocal coach Amy Gigliotti. 

“Shows are great for introducing kids to different time periods and it’s incredibly fun telling them that ‘yes, we did actually wear our hair like this, and these outfits were considered cool.’”

The show is set in 1985 and stars Robbie Hart, New Jersey’s favorite wedding singer, played by senior Steven Smith. According to the musical’s website, Hart is the life of the party until his own fiancée leaves him at the altar. With a broken heart, Robbie makes every wedding as disastrous as his own. Then comes along Julia Sullivan, a winsome waitress who wins his affection. Julia is about to be married to a Wall Street shark, and, according to the website, “unless Robbie can pull off the performance of a decade, the girl of his dreams will be gone forever.”

“I’m excited about working with my friends and excited about being able to share the stage with all of these talented people,” said freshman Gianni Lewis, who plays Julia in Deptford’s production. 

The theater department chose this musical in order to give students the chance to experience different genres during their high school careers. Last year, they did “The Little Mermaid,” which is a feel-good kid’s show. The year before that was a classic, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” This year’s show is an example of a more modern show, from story to music to costuming, according to Gigliotti. 

“We like to repeat the basic three-year cycle to make sure our kids get to experience different genres while on the stage. It was time for a modern show this year, and this was one that I’ve been interested in,” said Gigliotti, who is working with Peter Mosiondz, set designer and acting coach, and Paula Minacci, choreographer.

“I knew that we had the capabilities to fill most roles, so that made it an easy pick. As always, we prepare for shows by thinking of the kids that we know we will have, but we are always pleasantly surprised by new or improved talent,” added Gigliotti. 

The show is on March 5, 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Deptford High School. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. More information can be found on the Deptford School District Facebook page.