There's no telling how many dozens or hundreds of New York couples had their weddings, anniversaries and other special occasions ruined by the tragic events of Sept. 11. Add to their number a fictional twosome: Tony and Tina, who have been playing Off-Broadway since Feb. 6, 1988. With the excuse that the duo are going away on their honeymoon, Tony n' Tina's Wedding is taking a break, suspending performances Sept. 23 with the intention of reopening Nov. 1. Tickets are already onsale for that time period through the end of the year, according to spokesperson David Gersten.
Tony n' Tina celebrated their 13th anniversary together, Feb. 8 of this year. As of Sept. 23, the show will have played 4,465 performances. The popular interactive comedy that includes a raucous Italian American wedding and a sit-down reception with meal (even more raucous) is the second longest-running show in Off-Broadway history and the longest-running comedy on or off Broadway, according to the show's spokespersons.
Nuptials for the ornately Italian pair are at St. Luke's Church at (308 W. 46th St.) with reception at Vinnie Black's Coliseum at the Edison Hotel (221 W. 46th St.), across from the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The show, a popular group sales seller, ran for 10 years in Greenwich Village before moving to the theatre district in midtown in August 1998.
Produced by Joe and Dan Corcoran, Tony N' Tina's Wedding was created by the improv comedy troupe, Artificial Intelligence. The show spawned an interactive "environmental" phenomenon that has included numerous regional versions and similar family-milestone productions — funerals, bar mitzvahs, etc.
According to spokesperson David Gersten, the detritus of T n' T has included 60,000 bottles of champagne and 100 tons of pasta. The current Tina is Kelly Cinnante and Tony is Scott Bielecky. For information on Tony n' Tina's Wedding call (212) 239-6200. *
After exchanging vows at St. John's Church in Greenwich Village for 10 years, Tony n' Tina's Wedding moved to St. Luke's and the Edison in August 1998.
The move to the 190-seat space afforded the popular interactive production 40 more seats each night, said the show's publicist at the time, David Rothenberg. "The show books an enormous amount the theatre parties, but we've always had to cut them off at 150. Forty extra seats six or seven times a week adds up."
T&T is currently on view in 12 other U.S. cities and has played in over 100 total cities and countries, including Seattle, Baltimore, Kansas City, Australia, Germany and Britain. Following in the footsteps of Grease!, T&T 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 (in summer 1998 there were 14 Tony N' Tina's Weddings playing around the country), T&T 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 a gay copycat show, Tony n' Tony's Wedding, which played in Chicago for a few weeks simultaneously with the original.
-- David Lefkowitz
and Kenneth Jones