By Michael Gioia
28 Jan 2013
"I've always wanted to be on Broadway," said Raiola in a statement, "and this is my favorite show! I've seen it five times! I am a huge supporter of the gay community, and to perform a gay wedding will be easy for me. I've always wanted to be on Broadway so move over Patti LuPone."
Presented by Bianco Productions, the production is helmed by Emmy Award-winning director Sonia Blangiardo ("One Life To Live, "As the World Turns") and features original music and lyrics by David James Boyd and original choreography by J. Austin Eyer.
The limited engagement, which began Nov. 3, 2012, has been extended to every Saturday through April 13. Performances were originally scheduled through Dec. 30.
My Big Gay Italian Wedding, according to press notes, "satirizes the controversy surrounding same-sex marriage while drawing on larger than life gay and Italian characters. Anthony Pinnunziato, a gay Italian-American from a large chaotic family, wants to marry his boyfriend Andrew Polinski in a traditional Italian ceremony. Anthony's overbearing mother won't give her blessing unless Andrew's estranged mother also gives her blessing and the ceremony is performed by a priest. Matters are further complicated by Andrew's ex-boyfriend, intent on breaking up the couple."
The cast also includes Brett Douglas as Maurizio, Donna Castellano as Angela, Joe Scanio as Joseph, Meridith Cullen as Maria, Justin Flexen as Gregorio, Liz Gerecitano as Lucia, Meagan Robar as Connie, Drew Little as Mario, Michael Gellert as Frankie, Erik Ransom as Rodney and Chad Kessler as Father Rosalia with ensemble members Paul Moon and Leah Gerstel.
My Big Gay Italian Wedding features scenic design by Frank Gericitano.
The musical premiered at the Actor's Playhouse in November 2003. A revised and updated version played a benefit performance at the St. George Theatre in Staten Island in September 2009, and transferred to St. Luke's in May 2010 for a 16-month run.
My Big Gay Italian Wedding has played in El Paso, Omaha, Louisville and is scheduled to play five other major cities in 2013, including Los Angeles. Last spring, My Big Gay Italian Wedding played in Edinburgh, Scotland, during the Fringe Festival and in London for a six-week run. A U.K. tour began in France in May 2012, and the musical is scheduled to open in Hong Kong.