Last week I was a guest at Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, held at the Midtown Arts Center in Fort Collins, Colorado. Midtown Arts Center, formerly the home of Carousel Dinner Theater, is a classy joint, maybe a little too classy for this hot mess of a wedding.
The truth is, Tony n’ Tina have been getting married since 1985, when a couple of Long Island college buddies performed their Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding skit in front of friends and family. Three years later the interactive play opened off Broadway and today, the theatrical nuptials between Valentina Victoria “Tina” Vitale and Anthony “Tony” Nunzio, Jr. have been performed in over 100 cities worldwide – from Europe to Japan to Australia.
With the popularity of reality shows like Jersey Shore, and Real Housewives of New Jersey, it seems the Italian stereotype is alive and well, making it the ideal time to go to Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding. This wedding is as messy as those famous shows, and that’s a good thing.
Now, back to my experience at Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding at Midtown Arts Center. The wedding guests sit together at big round tables, and it almost feels like a real wedding, although I’ve never been to a wedding where the decorations appear to have been purchased at the Dollar Store.
It’s important to note that interactive theater can be a real hoot, but you should be in the right sort of mood. I recommend ordering a cocktail and enjoying the ride. The fact is, you have a part in this play – you are playing a guest at this wedding – and even if you aren’t an “actor” this is a fun and easy role.
The dress code for this particular wedding includes blue eye shadow and fake nails for the ladies, and hair grease for the men. Also, if you chew a piece of gum during ceremony, you’ll fit right in. (You certainly don’t have to come in your best Jersey Shore costume, but a couple of people did on the night we attended the play).
After the introduction of the family, the wedding gets started, directed by Father Mark, an Irish/Catholic priest with a penchant for a stiff drink – yes, the racial stereotypes persist in this play, but stereotypes make for good comedy, so relax.
I won’t give anything away, but let’s just say this is not your typical church wedding, despite the fact that there’s a priest and a nun in attendance.
After the nuptials, the reception begins and that is when the “guests,” that’s you, get to visit the buffet. Midtown Arts Center orchestrates this part of the evening very well and no one waits in line very long. The menu is chicken marsala and side dishes, and guests are allowed to upgrade to fish or MidTown’s prime rib dinner.
We went with the buffet and it was pretty good. I think many people would be happy to serve this meal at their own wedding. During dinner the wedding singer serenaded the crowd, and one of Tony’s cousins told me, “He’s just like Justin Bieber, but not as good.”
After dinner it’s time for dancing, and while you don’t have to dance, the music is sure to get your toes tapping. Let’s just say that I had no problem getting up and dancing throughout the night, with my husband and with boys from the wedding party. There are even a couple of highly entertaining choreographed dance numbers the wedding party performs throughout the evening.
Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding is playing now through November 13, 2011 at the Midtown Arts Center in Fort Collins. Due to the tremendous popularity of the show, two additional times have been added, including a Saturday matinee on October 29 and a Thursday evening performance on November 10. Go to adinnerTheater.com for more information and to purchase tickets, or call (970) 225-2555.