Twenty years after its first staging, playwright and actor Tony Calabretta’s breakthrough play, Damn Those Wedding Bells!, returns to the Montreal stage.
This time, Calabretta is teaming up with director Antonio DiVerdis – under the Pellegrini Productions banner – and the Leonardo da Vinci Centre in Montreal’s St-Leonard borough.
The play follows the story of an Italian family preparing for the daughter’s wedding. Instead of focusing on the wedding, the mother of the bride becomes obsessed with finding a date for her son. The son has his heart set on a woman with whom he shouldn’t get involved. Comedic misunderstandings and tensions ensue.
Calabretta played the lead in the original staging of the play, and resumes the role in the new production.
The play was original mounted at the Centaur Theatre, and later on at the Segal Centre. The French version of the play, translated by Quebec great Michel Tremblay, toured Quebec in 2005.
Last fall, Calabretta and DiVerdis teamed up for the world premiere of Calabretta’s latest play, Don’t Blame it on the Stork.
“Our show last year was so successful we decided to do a follow up,” Calabretta explains.
The duo is once again collaborating with the Leonardo da Vinci Centre, a venue they hope more and more audience members will take seriously as a genuine professional theatre.
“A lot of people who had never been here, especially non-Italians, were impressed with the venue, the space. A lot of people came in thinking this is just a community centre,” Calabretta comments.
“We were happy with the turn out last year. But we thought we’d get more support from the Italian community,” he continues.
“But it was our first run,” DiVerdis adds.
“English theatre. It’s alive here, but it’s definitely a closed circuit. Even getting media here was tough. We need to break the mold of English theatre in Montreal. We want to create something real here,” DiVerdis explains.
The play stars Calabretta, Shawn Campbell (The Envelope, Centaur Theatre; Stratford Festival), Ariane Castellanos, Guido Cocomello (stand-up comic and actor, including six Centaur Theatre productions and Just for Laughs’ Zoofest), Christina Flippidis, Dawn Ford, Eleanor Noble (August, An Afternoon in the Country and Social Studies, Centaur Theatre; Wife Begins at Forty, Hudson Village Theatre) and Mary Long.
Shawn Campbell, Guido Cocomello, and Eleanor Noble shared the stage with Calabretta last year in Don’t Blame it on the Stork.
“We’ve discovered a few new talents this year. Mary Long from Toronto, Christina Flippidis who plays the bride,” Calabretta comments.
If all goes as planned, Calabretta and DiVerdis will return to the Centre next year with a brand new play written by Calabretta.
“I believe it’s going to be a comedy about the goings-on in an office and the realities of corporations forcing jobs oversees,” Calabretta explains.
In the meantime, he’s got a date to find for his sister’s wedding.
Damn Those Wedding Bells! runs until September 25, 2016 at the Leonardo da Vinci Centre. For tickets, please visit www.cldv.ca.