The Wedding Singer
The Wedding Singer could be dismissed as one more formula musical cynically cultured from the DNA of a popular film — but only if you’re a diagnosed anhedonic. Based on the first Adam Sandler movie to balance the funnyman’s manic misanthropy and cuddly slacker charm, the show, like the film, is an extended referential riff on all things ’80s. Also, like the film, it displays wit and warmth over and above what’s required. In the stage version, clean-cut Broadway newcomer Stephen Lynch, playing lovelorn Jersey wedding singer Robbie Hart, may lack Sandler’s appealing scruff and stray-dog mullet, as well as the comic’s ability to lurch from diffidence to demon scream in a nanosecond. But when he’s not being directed to do a spotty Sandler impression, Lynch has his own goofball poise and excellent chemistry with Laura Benanti, who plays Julia (the infelicitously affianced waitress assayed by Drew Barrymore in the movie).
The leads benefit enormously from an immensely talented supporting cast, most notably Felicia Finley, who, as Robbie’s evil ex Linda, handily steals the show in two short scenes. (Actually, Finley smashes and grabs, Benatar-ing her way through a performance that’s two parts hair-sprayed irony and one part gutturally earnest rock & roll.) The score may be a merely functional pastiche (those hoping for a K-tel revue of hits will be disappointed), and Act 2 may gag a bit on its own nostalgia. But Wedding, while it won’t stop the world, will melt with you pleasantly enough. (212-239-6200)