By Ellen Morgan
Published: Monday, February 15, 2021
The Wedding Singer will play in Adelaide from 9–24 April – the first city in Australia the Broadway production will visit. We chat to Producer David Venn ahead of the season.
samotor: Tell us about The Wedding Singer.
David: It’s a fun-filled musical based on the hit film starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. The show was originally created for Broadway in 2006 and has since done a UK tour as well. Adelaide will be the first leg of the Australian tour.
We’re calling it a celebration of the ’80s – it’s a nostalgia trip to when hair was big and people had their shoulder pads out and were walking around with leg warmers on. It’s a light-hearted comedy.
samotor: What can audiences expect?
David: For those who do know the film, there are key scenes and moments they’ll know word for word because the show has taken a lot of lines and funny gaffs straight from the film. The show also features a couple of songs from the film as well as an original score that’s inspired by the sounds of the ’80s… lots of synth, electric guitar and base.
It seems like [it’s] what people need at the moment. Even if you haven’t seen the film, it’s an opportunity to come out with friends, have an easy laugh and connect once again.
samotor: How long does it take to produce a show like this?
David: We’re usually working a few years out, so for this project it’s been 2 years in development – everything from securing the rights through to locking in touring dates, marketing plans and then getting all the people lined up and all the logistics surrounding it.
samotor: How does it feel to be showing the first musical at the revamped Her Majesty’s Theatre?
David: It’s fantastic to hold it at Her Majesty’s and have facilities with state-of-the-art technology and capacity for 1500 [audience members]. There are already great venues here [in Adelaide], and Her Majesty’s provides even more opportunity to bring large productions to Adelaide.
It also looks beautiful. [Keeping the heritage façade] is what gives it the charm. There’s always something so special about being in a space where there’s a whole bunch of history before you.
samotor: What do you love about musicals?
David: I think it’s the way that a musical can sweep you up not just with the story but with every element from music through to dancing – it just takes the everyday to a new level. I think it’s an awesome way for stories to be told.
samotor: How did you get into musical theatre?
David: I have always been a fan of musicals growing up. I worked for a different entertainment company before I started my own company 2 years ago as a producer [David Venn Enterprises].
The objective is to employ Australian artists and create opportunities for directors and choreographers.
A lot of shows [that come to Australia] are already developed so there’s not a lot of creative input. We’re trying to find new ways for local talent to bring their creative ideas to life.
This show is a fresh Australian take on a popular musical – we have a local director, choreographer and musical director. This is vital at the moment considering how long creatives have been unemployed in the country [because of COVID-19]. I’m so grateful to be in a position to help create the magic for other people now.
samotor: What have been some of your favourite projects to work on?
David: We did Bring It On: The Musical before this, which went to a few cities around the country – that was a lot of fun, with cheerleading and acrobatics.
samotor: What is your favourite part of working in musical theatre?
David: I think one of the most exciting parts is when the show first opens – the celebration of a big lead up of work and a huge team of people who have come together to achieve something. There’s a great feeling of excitement that comes with that.
samotor: What are your thoughts about Adelaide’s festival scene?
David: This is the first show I’ve actually toured in Adelaide and the city has a great reputation, especially the Adelaide Festival Centre itself – everyone has been so helpful and supportive about getting new shows in that would usually stay on the east coast. It’ll be great to be there!