Co-stars ready to reunite in ‘The Wedding Singer’ at Moonlight Amphitheatre
Brett Benowitz and Megan Carmitchel first performed together at the outdoor Vista theater in a 2021 rock ‘n’ roll cabaret
Just as “The Wedding Singer” comes with surprises, so did the way its co-stars, Brett Benowitz and Megan Carmitchel, found themselves in Moonlight Stage Productions’ comedy musical.
Benowitz, who enjoyed a six-month gig as Carl Perkins in Lamb’s Players Theatre’s “Million Dollar Quartet,” auditioned for the part of wedding singer Robbie Hart virtually.
“I did one take over Zoom,” he recalled. “Five minutes later I got the email and was offered the role.”
Carmitchel was in New York City on New Year’s Eve celebrating.
“It had just turned midnight,” she said, “and I got a call at 12:01, right after the countdown.”
It was Moonlight Producing Artistic Director Steven Glaudini offering her the role of waitress Julia Sullivan.
“I was like ‘This is the best way to start 2023.’ The rom-com and the Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore relationship (in the 1998 film version of ‘The Wedding Singer’) were things that I loved.”
The 2006 musical adaptation was written by composer Matthew Sklar and lyricist Chad Beguelin, who co-wrote the book with Tim Herlihy. Like the film, the musical is the story of Robbie, a professional wedding singer who life collapses when he’s dumped at the altar by his fiancée. Then he falls for Julia, a waitress who hires Robbie to sing at her own wedding. Sandler’s performance as Robbie is considered one of his best film roles.
Benowitz agrees and can’t wait to play the character.
“He’s (Robbie) sweet and endearing,” he said. “Then he has these really dark moments where he loses his mind. When I got the audition I looked over the meltdown scene. I was excited to learn it and to get to have that meltdown. There are so many rich moments within the character that make him so fun to dive into.”
In the story, both Robbie and Julia start out engaged, but to the wrong people.
“For these characters,” said Carmitchel, “it’s a friendship first that blossoms into the romance, and it surprises both of them.”
Carmitchel — honored earlier this year by the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle with the 2022 Actor of the Year award for several musical performances around town last year — is making her Moonlight Amphitheatre musical debut with “The Wedding Singer.” Her only previous experience at Moonlight was in a 2021 rock ‘n’ roll cabaret show that also featured Benowitz.
“The facilities are so nice,” she said. “The stage is huge. The sound is top-notch.”
Benowitz is looking forward to appearing with Carmitchel again, this time in a full show.
“I think we’ll have a lot of chemistry and great fun,” he said.
The feeling is mutual.
“I admire his work so much,” said Carmitchel, referencing “Million Dollar Quartet.” “His guitar skills are ridiculous.”
Indeed, Benowitz has dual careers, as a musical stage actor and a singer-songwriter. Make that three careers: He can also be seen in the film “Alabama Rose,” a psychological thriller now on Prime Video.
As for Carmitchel, she’s one of the busiest actors in town.
After “The Wedding Singer,” she’ll appear as Ivy Weston in Backyard Renaissance’s production of “August: Osage County” opening in, yes, August. Then it’s a return to the cast of “A Christmas Carol” at Cygnet Theatre for the holiday season.
‘The Wedding Singer’
When: Opens Wednesday and runs through June 24. Showtimes, 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays
Where: Moonlight Amphitheatre, Brengle Terrace Park, 1250 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista
Tickets: $14 to $58
Phone: (760) 724-2110
Sign up for the Encinitas Advocate newsletter
Top stories from Encinitas every Friday for free.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Encinitas Advocate.