And they said it wouldn't last! off-Broadway's Tony n' Tina have celebrated 11 anniversaries together -- with number 12 just around the corner, Feb. 6 -- and the ornately Italianate couple reach another milestone on Christmas Day: performance number 4,000.
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. The opening night in Manhattan was Feb. 6, 1988.
Nuptials 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.
Performances are 7 PM Thursday-Sunday, 2 PM Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $65 $75. For information, 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 publicist 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 has since played in over 40 American cities -- including Seattle, Baltimore and Kansas City -- and such international sites as 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.
-- By Kenneth Jones and David Lefkowitz