Adam Sandler, who'll be Four-Oh come September, may strike you as an odd repository for nostalgia, if he doesn't already seem like a strange inspiration for a Broadway musical.
But on April 27 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, he becomes both via the Main Stem bow of The Wedding Singer, a stage remake of his 1998 flick. In the movie he's a nuptial professional who, doubly embarrassed by being dumped at the altar, recovers with the love of a good, if equally mismatched, woman (Drew Barrymore) who waits tables at the same parties.
"The 80's was my idea - the wedding singer was his," recalls Tim Herlihy, who got sole screenplay credit but shares book-writing honors with Chad Beguelin. He and Sandler had teamed on the title roles that brought the actor into the box-office big-league - 1995's "Billy Madison" and 1996's "Happy Gilmore."
"The Wedding Singer" rang up $80,245,725 domestically. Stats like that made it easy for New Line Cinema to get the film on Broadway track with producer Margo Lion, who, understandably, was already pretty bullish about the company that had given her Hairspray - but Herlihy required convincing. "In this business, you're pitched so many bad ideas," he admits. "Initially, I wanted to say, 'No, it wouldn't work.' Then, the more that I thought about it, the more I realized, 'My God, it could work!'" Happily, Herlihy - who turns 40 a month after Sandler - could still think young and fell in sync with the show's thirtysomething creators, who saw The Wedding Singer as a trip down memory aisle. In their first official Broadway score, lyricist Beguelin and composer Matthew Sklar emulate the 80's out the kazoo with 18 songs that suitably recall the era.
Stephen Lynch and Laura Benanti are the Adam and Drew in this groove, Kevin Cahoon and Amy Spanger are the Boy George and Madonna wannabes, and Rita Gardner, who was The (original) Girl in The Fantasticks, is the granny with the rap number. Go, girl!