Saturday, July 27, 2002

Tony and Tuna's Wedding, adds a new star (Hanna Theatre)

TONY N’ TINA adds a new star for the night

After a lifetime on stage as an actor and director, I hadn’t appeared on stage in over 15 years. That string was broken on July 17 when I had made a cameo appearance in TONY N’ TINA’S WEDDING, the longest running play in Cleveland history. The program addition read, “At this performance Roy Nunzio will be played by theater critic Roy Berko.”

Not only did I have a wonderful time, but was again impressed with the delight the cast shares with the audience as they enact a wild Italian wedding complete with fights, a priest and nun who get drunk, dollar dances, a gay romance, an Italian feast highlighted by Orlando’s bread, a bad-joke MC, wedding guests singing and dancing, and a congo line down 14th Street.

The members of the cast are dedicated to the production and were wonderful hosts. Pete Ferry, the father of the groom, steered me through the evening with the able assistance of beautiful Erika Nicol Whites, who portrays his blond bimbo girlfriend. Michael Herzog, a charmer who conned my wife into giving him a backrub, and who portrays Tina’s brother, was always at hand with a smile to assist when Pete had to leave me alone. Tony, James Klein, and Mark Gates, portraying Father Mark were wonderful in our interactive scenes.

People in the audience who I knew tried, of course, to get me to break character. After a while they just started to play along.

My favorite moment? When a woman asked me to dance and slipped a dollar bill into the cummerbund I was wearing with my tux!

If you’ve seen it before, come back to see TONY N’ TINA’S WEDDING, it’s even more fun the second time. If you haven’t seen it, do so, you’ll have a wonderful time. According to Jeon Francis, the show’s public relations coordinator, the show is scheduled to run through New Year’s Eve.

By the way, if Jacqui Loewy, the show’s production stage manager, ever needs a fill-in cast member, I ‘m willing to appear at a moment’s notice.