Little did I know when I went to Village Theatre last week that I was in for many surprises involving its newest musical, “It Shoulda Been You.”
This show premiered last year at New Jersey’s George Street Playhouse, and has been revised for its second run in Issaquah.
First, there was the celebrity sighting in the lobby. “Is that the guy who plays Niles on ‘Frasier?’” I immediately had to ask my friend, Beth, my date for the night.
While David Hyde Pierce actually directed “It Shoulda Been You” when it opened, I’m assuming the “Frasier” alumnus was there to support his hubby, Brian Hargrove, the writer and lyricist with a wicked sense of humor behind the show, described as “Mazel tov with a twist.”
After sitting down, I waited in the darkness for a pleasant evening of entertainment.
But what happened after the lights went up was epic.
The bride, portrayed by actor Mara Solar, is Jewish, the groom, played by Tim Wilson, is Catholic, and the plot, which takes place over their wedding day, is a farce of manners, mishaps and juicy secrets revealed.
Neither of the families want the wedding to happen for various reasons, and when the ex-boyfriend crashes the wedding, the Jewish family, including a yarmulka-clad grandpa in an electronic wheel chair sings the show’s namesake song, “It Shoulda Been You” (as opposed to that gentile).
The groom’s family, on the other hand, is equally unimpressed with their son’s choice of bride and in fact, the mother, (played by Jayne Muirhead) sings of her despair that her son is marrying, after raising him on Sondheim musicals and dress-up in hopes that she would always be the only girl in his life.
Muirhead’s performance, and actor Leslie’s Law’s nagging and sassy Jewish mother, stole the show, in addition to power-house vocalist Kat Ramsburg, who played the bride’s always-a-bridesmaid sister.
With wicked humor and quirky characters, “It Shoulda Been You” was like watching one of today’s top sitcoms, but live and set to song. There were no jazz-hands or old-fashioned pageantry here, but edgy jokes, a frankness about sex and sexuality, and Lady-Gaga-like themes of “Embrace the way you are.”
With that said, I’d like to say I finally saw a musical that spoke to my millennial generation. But, from the raucous laughter that shook the room, including the hearty guffaws of a balding gentleman who sat next to me, I’d say “It Shoulda Been You” brought down the house in everyone’s eyes that night.
If you go:
“It Shoudla Been You” plays now until April 22 at the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre, 303 Front St. N, Issaquah.