I walked into The Wedding Singer disappointed that I wouldn’t see Laura Benanti because of her physical ailment, but I walked out madly in love with Tina Maddigan.
When you think of a great Broadway performance, you think of not only the ability to act the character but also stage presence—that intangible magic “it” factor—and stage charisma. It’s when you are watching someone up on that stage, and they are alight like a fluorescent bulb, and you can’t take your eyes off of them. That was Tina Maddigan as Julia Sullivan.
I think Julia is a more challenging character than people give credit for. In some ways, she is the type of woman men don’t particularly understand, the woman who lives to get married and plan the wedding. Her attraction to Glen almost seems perfunctory—he’s got the right chromosomes and is willing to pop the question. It’s only when she understands what a man is really supposed to be like, in the foil of Robbie Hart, that she learns about what her current situation is lacking.
This, I don’t believe, is an easy character to pull off because of her naiveté early in the show; however, Maddigan made me fall in love with Julia, particularly during “Pop!” because you see her emotional foibles so clearly. Tina Maddigan created a real character out of those frustrations, not an emotionally empty one.
Plus, her Julia was so perky and cute. She was so sweet to Robbie and so supportive of him during the high times and low times, all while singing so beautifully.
In my own life, I never fall for the woman whose sole goal in life is to be the pretty pretty princess at her wedding, but I fell for Julia Sullivan and Tina Maddigan.
I mentioned this once before, but had I been a producer in Hollywood, the night I saw The Wedding Singer, I would have snapped up Tina Maddigan and Stephen Lynch to star in a romantic comedy. They had such great chemistry, and that’s how good she was.
the Broadway Mouth
September 18, 2007