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Paulanne Simmons

Tony and Tina Are Back!

Tony n' Tina's Wedding
Directed by Tony Lauria
The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School, 120 West 46th Street; and Guy's American Kitchen & Bar, 220 West 44th Street.
Opened March 5, 2014
Weds thru Sat. at 7pm, matinees Sat. at 2pm & Sun. at 3pm
Tickets: $125 for "Friends" seating, with Premium/Family Seating available at $175, 866-811-4111 or online at www.TonyLovesTina.com
Reviewed by Paulanne Simmons March 20, 2014

"Tony n' Tina's Wedding," an environmental theater piece that satirizes traditional working-class Italian weddings, is turning 25. When the show opened on Feb. 6, 1988, the ceremony took place at St. John's Church on Christopher Street, and the reception above Gus' Restaurant on Waverly and Waverly. The show became a fixture of the Greenwich Village neighborhood, running at that location for the first 10 years, before moving to Times Square where it ran for another 10 years.

Valentina Lynne Nunzio, The Bride (Marilia Angeline) and Anthony Angelo Nunzio, The Groom (Joe Ferraro) with Father Mark (Tim Monaghan). Photo by Michael Gargan.

The original Tony and Tina might have college age or married children by now... or they might be divorced. But the show is once again going strong. After many moves and a temporary hiatus, the ceremony is now at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School at 120 West 46th Street (formerly the Performing Arts High School, the school on which the film and TV show Fame was based), with the reception at Guy's American Kitchen & Bar at 220 West 44th Street.

Getting from the ceremony to the reception entails trekking through the heart of Times Square and Shubert Alley, escorted by the various members of the bridal party, who carry signs and encourage the guests to follow closely.

From left to right: Marina (Marissa Perry), Donna (Emily Dinova), Connie (Chloe Patellis), Aunt Rose (Silvana Mastrolia), The Bride, Tina (Marilia Angeline), Barry (Sam Masotto), Dominick (Gregory Cioffi), Johnny (Chris Lazzaro), the Groom, Tony (Joe Ferraro), and Mr Nunzio, Father of the Groom (Rick Pasqualone). Photo by Michael Gargani.

The new incarnation of "Tony n' Tina's Wedding" has been updated to include the latest technology. Guests are urged to take pictures with friends and the members of the bridal party (who helpfully make the rounds of the tables) and share the photos via social media. After attending the wedding, all guests receive a Thank You note from Tony n' Tina and a password to view the couple's honeymoon pictures online. One can only imagine!

Of course the show still trades heavily in stereotypes. The bridesmaids chew gum. The ushers are macho and gauche. Members of two families keep asserting themselves at awkward times. The priest offers loving and meaningless platitudes only surpassed by the nonsense the newlyweds have prepared.

The situation, as expected, degenerates during the reception, where alcohol and lost inhibition take over. Words are exchanged. Fights break out. But through it all the families soldier on and the guests (aka audience) have a great time.

The wedding meal (appetizer, spaghetti and salad, and a slice of wedding cake for dessert) is included with the ticket price, but alcoholic beverages are extra. There are no seconds. And here is where this wedding differs from any other Italian wedding you will ever attend. You may go home hungry. And you probably will not shed a tear as the bride kisses the groom. But you will go home laughing.



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