Chuck (charlesofcamden) wrote,

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One More Time

On New Year’s Eve, Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding closed. Again. Yeah, I know they closed back in July, and as you may recall, I was on hand then to watch the show, take a bunch of photos, and post them in this journal (you can flip back to my entry of July 19th if you want to see the entry). This time, management claims they really mean it.

So have we seen the last of this company of wayward Italians? Well, yes and no. There; I’m glad I’ve had a chance to clear up that question for you.

OK, here’s the scoop: They reopened the show in November, just to run it through the holidays. That deadline was hardly arbitrary; it was chosen for 2 important reasons: 1) Business falls off substantially after the holidays; and 2) The lease on their performing space is not being renewed. Reason #2 is the real door-closer. The show will certainly crop up again here and there in the near future, at least as a touring show for specific bookings. Whether it ever again will have a permanent home is an open question at this point, though it seems doubtful given the downward trend of TnT business stretching back over the last decade.

The mini-run of TnT that concluded on New Year’s Eve was performed almost entirely by former cast members being called in to reprise their roles. I declined the opportunity, though CC appeared in the role of Mrs. Vitale (the mother of the bride) at last week’s penultimate performance.

Let’s get to the photos. The one at the top of this post is, I suppose, the public face of TnT – the sign anyone could see while driving along North Avenue. It will be interesting to see how long it takes building management to take it down.

Having played the role of caterer Vinnie Black many hundreds of times myself, I must report that for me, this sign was a fabulous object to riff on with patrons. The story of how we came to obtain it would change from night to night.

During dinner, Tony and Tina go from table to table for photos. I chose to immortalize this group based on their photogenic qualities and commensurate enthusiasm for the event.

I was very happy to capture this image for 2 reasons: 1) Looking through my collection of TnT photos, I realized I had no decent photos of Sandra, who is a true living legend in the annals of this theater company; and 2) I thought it would have special significance for Vince H., seen here playing the father of the groom with his arm around the mother of the bride (long story).

Carrie B. as Loretta Black and Vince L. as Vinnie Black. I really like this shot and I hope they will too.

This is Mark D. as Father Mark and Jane A. as a member of the wait staff. While their respective characters have no scripted interaction in the show, the two performers are in fact husband and wife.

Three memorable individuals from TnT lore. That’s Jaclyn M. as bridesmaid Donna Marsala, Meg D. as bridesmaid Marina Galina, and ML as the bride. Although no official tally has been kept to my knowledge, it is thought that ML performed the role of Tina more times than any other actress in the 16-year run of the show.

The mood on New Year’s Eve (or at least my mood) was very different from the mood at the July closing of the show. In July, one felt the wheezes of a show running on fumes, limping to the finish line. At the same time, it seemed inconceivable that this was really, truly the end of the line, so there was little in the way of poignancy to the moment. While there was a touch of wistfulness to the evening, it was more of a nice party filled with reunions and farewells. I titled my entry of July 19th “Tony n’ Tina’s Wake,” but it was more of a one-liner than a commentary on the mood of the evening.

It felt very different on New Year’s Eve, though. Part of it was knowledge of the afore-mentioned situation with the lease, which meant that this was to be our last night in the remarkable performance space the show had in Piper’s Alley. Another element was the presence of so many old cast-mates who returned to perform it one last time. I’m sorry I didn’t capture a photo of the exceptional Marisa P., who came back to perform the role of Connie, the pregnant bridesmaid, or a photo of Jonathan P., who played photographer Sal Antonucci and probably played it more times than any other actor in the entire run of the show.

You might wonder whether I experienced any pangs of longing to be up there performing the show one last time. My answer would be a firm No. Sure, there were a few individual moments I would have enjoyed playing, but I was entirely content to perch myself in a corner, watch the show, and greet and BS with old friends as they came by.

For me, the lasting message of closing night was this: Shows come and go, and though it’s true that I may never experience anything quite like TnT again, and as remarkable as it was to be a part of, the lasting value of it is clearly in all the wonderful people who have enriched my life as a result of my involvement in this show. And even when the people haven’t been wonderful, they’ve been fascinating.

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