‘The Wedding Singer’ epitomizes the ‘80s, chasing those winter blues

Linda Leuzzi
Posted 1/19/23

Douglas Goodhart, who stars as the beloved Adam Sandler lead, Robbie, in The Gateway’s “The Wedding Singer, The Musical Comedy,” was a wedding singer in real life. “I used to …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

‘The Wedding Singer’ epitomizes the ‘80s, chasing those winter blues


Douglas Goodhart, who stars as the beloved Adam Sandler lead, Robbie, in The Gateway’s “The Wedding Singer, The Musical Comedy,” was a wedding singer in real life. “I used to sing at weddings and birthday parties,” he said. “I also sang to Drew Barrymore’s baby when she was 1 year old. And the baby actually stood up!”

Sarah Ellis, who plays Julia, the waitress created in the movie by Barrymore, revealed that life imitates art in her case, too. “This is the second show I’m doing where I plan a wedding,” she said. Ellis is getting married in August on Mackinac Island.

The story of Robbie, New Jersey’s favorite kind-hearted wedding singer who wants to write music and be a rock star, and Julia, the luminous waitress he works with who wants to get married, is a fun, hilarious take on finding true love and the importance of family and friendship with a 1985 beat. It’s based on the hit 1998 film, conceptualized by Sandler, written by Ed Herlihy, and directed by Sandler’s friend, Frank Coraci, a Shirley native and William Floyd High School alum. It debuted on Broadway in 2006, with music by Matthew Sklar and lyrics by Chad Beguelin.

You’re in for a treat with this upcoming Gateway production, especially with Goodhart and Ellis in the leads. Goodhart, who grew up in Stony Brook, starred in The Gateway’s “Urinetown” and “Showboat” at age 13, and also taught at Gateway’s Acting School. He’s played Off Broadway in “That Bachelorette Show” and at the Papermill Playhouse starred in “Once,” “Jekyll And Hyde,” and “My Very Own British Invasion,” as well as television, and is a founding member of “Uncle Function,” a sketch comedy show that performs monthly at NYC comedy clubs. Ellis has a stellar roster of credits in theater, film, commercial, and symphony work, and played lead Sibella in the first national tour of “A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder.” (She was also a knockout Liza Minelli in “The Boy from Oz.”) Both are New York based: Goodhart lives in Astoria and is recently married; Ellis resides in Long Island City.

Director of development and public relations, Scot Patrick Allan, said it was composers Sklar and Beguelin’s first musical. “They’re good at turning movie comedies into musical comedies. But Sandler’s song, ‘Grow Old With You,’ is in there,’” he said.

“Energetic enjoyable production,” “All the fun of the movie,” were just a couple of the many Broadway review accolades. It was nominated for five Tony Awards; the cast sang “It’s Your Wedding Day” on the televised awards program to a roaring crowd.

“We just love these two people and want them to be together,” Ellis said of the characters who are mismatched with potential mates in the beginning.

There are 22 in the cast, with over 20 musical numbers. “The opening number, ‘It’s Your Wedding Day,’ is original,” said Goodhart. “It starts the fun part of the wedding, and you can see that Robbie is the best at what he does.”

Another is “Saturday Night in the City,” offered Ellis. “It’s a high-energy extravaganza. Everyone is at the club. Everyone will get an ‘80s ballad and an ‘oomph,’ ‘oomph’, ‘oomph.’”

Executive artistic director Paul Allan added that each song advances the audience through the story. “It’s a fun, big, exciting musical, and we’ve never done anything like this opening in January,” he said.

The Billy Idol character remains. “Also, Nancy and Ronnie Reagan, Mr. T, and Cyndi Lauper are in there,” added Ellis. “We also introduce the cell phone for the first time in the car.”

You’ll get to see George, Robbie’s friend and endearing Boy George wannabe, riff in a hilarious fun song and dance with Grandma Rose.

As an extra bonus, it’s a good omen when the director lived in those times.

“Keith Ellison was in high school and college in the 1980s and danced how we’re dancing now,” revealed Goodhart.

Goodhart and Ellis brim with affectionate chemistry, and work hard at keeping their acting/singing chops honed. Goodhart’s comedy group, Uncle Function, with its six performers, plays at Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Theatre & Training Center and Asylum NYC. “It keeps you sharp and you get to perform when you don’t have a show,” he said. “You find your community.”

“Even with this role, I worked with my voice teacher,” Ellis added. “You’re going to your acting gym. I also take one dance class a week.”

The admiration for each other was palpable.

“You have such command of your voice,” said Goodhart turning to Ellis.

“He’s a rock star in the show,” Ellis answered.

Get your tickets now to see these two and the other stars in this hilarious production. It runs Jan. 27 to Feb. 26. Call 631-286-1133 or click on boxoffice@thegateway.org.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here