Can a banquet-hall waitress find happiness with the lead singer of a cheesy ’80s wedding band? That is the question asked and answered—in the resounding affirmative—by The Wedding Singer, this year’s Rivers winter musical. A cast and crew of dozens of students brought boundless joy, energy, and talent to the Eleanor Welch Casey Theater at Regis College on Thursday and Friday, lighting up the stage with razzle-dazzle big numbers, moving ballads, snappy dialogue, and all the glitzy glamor of New Jersey in the Reagan era.
Robbie Hart, the wedding singer of the title, is a starry-eyed romantic who is jilted at the altar early in Act 1. In the Rivers production, Robbie was played by Alex Massarotti ’23, appearing for the last time in a Nonesuch Players show after many years of involvement with the theater program. It’s a challenging role that requires top-notch singing, acting, and dancing skills, not to mention comedic chops, and Massarotti was well up to the task. He met his match in Sarah DuBard ’25, who played Julia, the kind-hearted waitress who befriends Robbie when he’s down in the dumps—or literally down in a dumpster, at one point. Julia is also in an unsuitable romantic relationship, engaged to her Wall Street shark of a boyfriend, played by Andrew Ho ’25.
Since this is, after all, a rom-com, there’s not much doubt about whether Robbie and Julia will end up together. But there are plenty of amusing detours along the way, provided by Rivers stage stalwart Rinny Leeming ’23 as Julia’s cousin Holly; Ceci Giebutowski ’25 as Robbie’s peppy grandmother; Colin Falvey ’23 as Robbie’s blockheaded bandmate; Anna Rosenfeld ’23 as Robbie’s ex, Linda; and a large and talented cast in other supporting roles and the ensemble.
Not all the talent was up on the stage. As is customary at Rivers musicals, the singers were accompanied by a live orchestra comprising mostly student musicians, overseen by music director John Bower, head of Middle School. Behind the scenes, students helped with costumes, hair, and makeup and served as the tech crew, under the oversight of faculty members Cathy Favreau (costumes and props) and Ben Leeming (set direction).
For the first time since the Covid outbreak, performers were not required to wear face shields and audience members could be unmasked. It was a welcome return to the immediacy of pre-pandemic theater, and the joy in the room, both on stage and off, was palpable.
In her program notes, director Zoë Iacovelli wrote that The Wedding Singer
is “a challenging show with fast-paced numbers, quick costume changes, and complex tech flourishes.” After Thursday’s performance, she remarked, “I could not be more proud of the positivity, energy, professionalism, and heart that these kids put into the show. It really proved that theater takes a village, as the show wouldn't have been what it was without each individual cast and crew member.”
Producer Julia Auster-Hogan chimed in, “This show was so fun to put on! From auditions all the way to the final week, this cast has supported each other and encouraged each other to take risks. This pays off immensely on stage when you see them enjoying themselves to the fullest. I’m proud to be a part of providing such a welcoming space that puts on such an outstanding show. And mostly, I’m proud of these kids!”
To view a gallery of photos from the show, please click here