In 1998, Saturday Night Live alum Adam Sandler teamed with his college roommate and frequent writing partner Tim Herlihy (Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore) to create The Wedding Singer. Set in 1985 (the year David Lee Roth quit Van Halen and mullets conquered the world), The Wedding Singer retold the classic tale about a poor but sincere young man in love with a girl who's way out of his league. Following on the success of Mel Brooks' The Producers and John Waters' Hairspray, Herlihy re-imagined The Wedding Singer as a Broadway musical, which opens at The Orpheum just in time for Valentine's Day.
Flyer: Did much of the story change in the adaptation?
Tim Herlihy: Near the end of the film there's a scene that takes place on an airplane. That works pretty well in a movie, but an airplane on stage just doesn't "read." The stage script sticks to the film script in strange ways and veers off in strange ways. The first draft was very close to the film. Things changed as I watched how audiences responded.
Is there a Wedding Singer without Adam Sandler?
Other people on the team worried if we could pull it of without Adam, but we've gotten lucky with both the Broadway production and the tours and have had great Robbies fall right into our laps.
Were you a fan of musical theater?
People in their 30s and 40s have become kind of estranged from musicals, I think. But now you've got people as subversive as Mel Brooks and John Waters writing them.
The Producers and Hairspray both began as non-musical films, became smash Broadway musicals, and culminated with film versions of the musical. Will we see The Wedding Singer! The Musical! The Film! anytime soon?
I hope I would be able to have veto power over something like that.
"The Wedding Singer" at The Orpheum February 12th-17th. Tickets are $15-$60.