A Crazy Night Out at Tony N' Tina's Wedding
Last week, Win and I went to see (or rather, be a part of) "Tony N' Tina's Wedding." For those unfamiliar with this show, I'll give a quick explanation of how it works. This show is unlike most plays out there. The premise is that Tony and Tina, a hugely stereotypical Italian-American couple, are getting married and you're invited to their wedding and reception. So unlike your typical theatrical performance where you go and sit in a theater and watch actors perform on a stage, "Tony N' Tina's Wedding" encourages you to mingle and interact with the performers and other ticketholders as if you are guests at a real wedding. This was a totally unique and fun way to spend a night out.
The evening started with a pre-wedding cocktail in the cocktail lounge next to the church. Amaretto sours sounded good to us that night, so we happily sipped those as some of the actors started to work their way into the crowd. They would exchange hellos with you as if you were really a guest at the upcoming wedding. The man playing the videographer for the wedding brushed against my purse when he walked by and when I looked up, he was snarling at me as if I had done something really wrong. Turns out, this totally fit with the videographer's personality and as the show progressed, I understood what the crazy man in the cocktail lounge was doing.
Then it was time for the ceremony. We all crammed in to church pews to see the comical exchange of vows, various Biblical readings and blessings performed. This play pokes fun at Italian-American stereotypes and all sorts of wedding traditions.
After the ceremony, we passed through a receiving line where I got to meet the mother of the bride, the bride's brother and the groom. Win met the father of the groom and some others on his way through. The actors were totally genuine in thanking you for coming and making you feel like you were a guest at the wedding. Next, it was on to the reception where a glass of champagne was waiting.
The reception was where the real fun happened and the actors mingled with guests more freely. We chatted with the groom and he told us how he never thought this day would come. We talked with some bridesmaids, ogled the bride's gigantic diamond, and posed for pictures with members of the wedding party. One of the groomsmen tried to set the young, single woman sitting next to me up with the wedding photographer.
As for food, there was a buffet of sausage and peppers, rigatoni in a marinara sauce, another kind of pasta salad, Italian bread and a salad of fresh greens. Vanilla wedding cake with vanilla icing was also served. Despite the extreme vanilaness, it was pretty good. Cash bar at this wedding and Win got us a couple glasses of red wine with our dinner. The food isn't the real reason to go to this show, but it was actually pretty good and also very well-managed for a large-scale buffet to feed such a big number of guests.
As the reception progressed, the priest who presided over the wedding pretended to really loosen up and he came over to me and said some very funny, but very dirty comments. I'll leave the specifics out from here, but let's just say I was embarrassed to tell my Mom what he said when I was telling her about the show. It was hilarious though and another way the performers interact with the guests. There was singing, dancing, toasting and fighting; all the elements for a crazy, entertaining wedding.
"Tony N' Tina's Wedding" is a really different way to spend a night out. It's part theater, part circus, and part "Sopranos" episode. While some parts of it were a bit cheesy, overall we loved it and we'd recommend it for people who are up for a fun, interactive theater experience. I think the show is best enjoyed by people who are willing to really get into it and play along; if you act like a guest and talk to the actors, they will suck you right in. If you're shy and prefer to just be left alone at a show, you might get less out of the whole experience.
Tony N' Tina's Wedding
230 West North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60610
**Please note the two photos in this post come from the Tony N' Tina's Wedding web site. We took our own photos at the reception, but the lighting wasn't the best for photography and they came out a bit too dark.
Next time: One Happy Lima Bean