The third longest-running show in Off-Broadway history, Tony N' Tina's Wedding has seen sales slow a bit in mid-July, causing nervous producers to post a "last weeks" warning in the New York Times ABC directory. According to spokesperson David Rothenberg, however, the caution is premature: "July is slow every year, for nearly every show. But we're selling tickets through January first. Sales have picked up, and I imagine in a couple of weeks they'll take the notice down. It should probably be called `last years.'"
Originally conceived by Nancy Cassaro, then developed by the Artificial Intelligence Troupe, TNT has since played in over 35 American cities -- including Seattle, Baltimore and Kansas City -- and such international sites as Australia, Germany and Britain. Following in the footsteps of Grease!, TNT has maintained audience interest by offering unusual guest appearances in lead rolls. New York Met Lee Mazzilli and U.S. Soccer Champ Tony Meola and NY's most decorated city cop, Robert Cea, have all played Tony.
Not only popular (there are 14 Tony N' Tina's Weddings currently playing around the country), TNT has also been influential, since its part-scripted, part-improv, food-included and site-specific techniques have been adopted by show's such as Grandma Sylvia's Funeral, Bernie's Bar Mitzvah and the original creators' new, gay sequel, Tony N' Tony's Wedding, which played in Chicago concurrently with the original. (This co-opting is only fair, since Tony N' Tina's own roots can be found in other shows, such as Tamara, a high-priced, site specific piece that guided audience members through the rooms of the New York Armory and fed them on catered dishes, and the plethora of murder-mystery dinner theatres at community and regional venues.)
Of Tony N' Tina's longevity, production spokesman David Gersten told Playbill On-Line, "Unlike other shows, they've been around ten years, and they haven't fired anyone yet."
Currently in the cast (July 28) are Marilyn J. Papa (Tina), Patrick Michael Buckley (Tony), Liz Zazzi, Kevin Morgan, Brooke Lewis, Scott Bielecky, Maria Gentile, Michael Perri, Jacqueline Carol, Michael Gargani, Stan Winston, Christine Vanacore, Denise Fennell, Benny Geraci, Kari Harendorf, Elaine Unnold, Nicholas Keene, James J. Hendricks, Kevin Alexander, Victoria Constan, Tony Patellis, Stephanie Strand, Rocco Parente, Jackie Maruschak, Pete Mastronardi and Tom Karlya, along with a four-piece band, "Donny Dulce & Fusion." For tickets and information on Tony N' Tina's Wedding, which opened Feb. 6, 1988, call (212) 279-4200.
--By David Lefkowitz