Review: ‘Wedding Singer Blues’

Carla Zilbersmith's "Wedding Singer Blues" has a potentially intriguing premise but mediocre writing, flimsy characterizations and unmemorable musical perfs conspire to make it a static experience. Jeffrey Bihr's direction seems nonexistent, but that is the least of this show's problems.

Crucial to a one-person show is that all of the audience’s attention be focused on the single performer. If the actor is not obviously charming or talented, or the writing terrific, the audience will rapidly lose interest. Carla Zilbersmith’s “Wedding Singer Blues” has a potentially intriguing premise — the trials and tribulations of a wedding singer — but mediocre writing, flimsy characterizations and unmemorable musical perfs conspire to make it a static experience. Jeffrey Bihr’s direction seems nonexistent, but that is the least of this show’s problems.

Zilbersmith relates how she grew up in Canada wanting to be a singer, just like her grandmother had been. When she moves to America to take her chances on stardom, her family bets on how fast she’ll fail. She ends up with a wedding singer job in New York, but this only serves to emphasize to her how far she is from realizing her dreams.

The entire reason to see a show with this title is to learn about the wedding singer business, and Zilbersmith’s material on the subject forms the best part of the play. Unfortunately, she doesn’t address the issue until the play is almost half over, filling the time with familiar and bland riffs about Canada and learning how to drive. Some jabs at performance art are cliched yet undeniably amusing nevertheless. Zilbersmith plays many roles in the piece but delivers simplistic caricatures that fail to show versatility as an actor.

Zilbersmith has a decent singing voice, and she’s backed by accomplished musicians Michael Zilber, Roberto Angelucci and Craig McIntyre. Yet even musically the show never catches fire. Frankly, the instrumental opening was more enjoyable than anything within the show itself, although Zilbersmith’s bouncy and assured rendition of “My Romance” comes awfully close.

Wedding Singer Blues

Upstairs at the Coronet Theater; 99 seats; $25 top

Production

A Breathe Prods. presentation of a musical in one act by Carla Zilbersmith. Directed by Jeffrey Bihr.

Creative

Sets, Jerry Buszek; lighting, Brian Knox; sound, Robert Williams Jr. Opened June 9, 2006. Reviewed June 23. Runs through July 16. Running time: 1 HOUR, 25 MIN.

Cast

Carla - Carla Zilbersmith
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