Salisbury Press

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Theater Review: 'The Bride' vows to entertain at The Pines

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Return with us to the days when newspaper editors were tyrants, entry-level journalists were treated like chattle and the ever-present sound of the newsroom was the rhythmic rat-tat-tat of manual typewriters.

That's the setting for a world-premiere musical, "Here Comes the Bride," through March 9, The Pines Dinner Theatre, 448 N. 17th St., Allentown.

Neophyte scribe Abigail Winthorpe (Annie Locke) lands a desk, mailroom slot and column inches at The Weekly Bugle newspaper in Birdseye, Ind., on the strength of the "Here Comes the Bride" advice column she successfully pitches to Editor-in-Chief Arthur P. Snodgrass (Brian Michael Vigorito).

Winthorpe is mentored by Bugle news reporter Margaret "Jonesey" Jones (Gwen Swanson Vigorito) and strikes up a byline chord with the mailroom clerk, Howie Norwood (Shawn Patrick Fletcher). Henry Barnes (Jerry Brucker) is aghast with everyone except "Betsy" -- the press he operates.

The approximate one and one-half hour show (not including intermission) has original songs and lyrics by Oliver Blatt, who also wrote the book and is the show's director-choreographer, and Stacy Bechtel, the show's music director and keyboardist.

Many of the show's nine songs (not including reprises) are catchy in the best sense of Broadway show tunes.

Locke and Swanson Vigorito harmonize splendidly on the title tune, "Here Comes the Bride." Locke has a big voice and isn't afraid to belt it.

Fletcher is winsomely memorable on "What's In A Name?"

Locke and Fletcher blend their voices handsomely on "Someone Special In My Life," the show's strongest song which is reprised twice for good reason.

Brucker and Swanson Vigorito make pitter-patter with a humorous patter song, "It Would Never Work."

Bechtel is energetic at the keyboard, backed by prerecorded tracks.

The dialogue is replete with corny jokes of the era.

Brucker plays his schmiel role to the hilt and is very funny.

Fletcher is charming as a good-natured nebbish.

It's Locke, however, who has a, ahem, lock on her role, with big-eyed naiveté, long-suffering exasperation and bubbly charm.

Carline Blatt did the costumes, which could bring back "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" style (1970 - '77) women's pants, vest and big-collar blouse ensemble.

Sound and light operator is Richard Gensiak.

My advice for "Here Comes the Bride" is that it's a date-night special for couples, whether newbies or oldies.