By Merle Exit
Take to the floor and dance the Hora and Tarantella as Laugh Out Loud Productions presents “Ira & Isabella’s Italian Jewish Wedding” at Douglaston Manor.
Nancy Levine is the producer, actress (including a key role in this show as the titular Ira’s mother) and comedian who founded this interactive comedy company. She will be inviting you up to the dance floor not just for the group dances, but also for when she sings traditional songs, including “Sunrise Sunset.”
“‘Ira & Isabella’s Jewish Italian Wedding’ was written six years ago by a man named Sean Patterson, who lives in New Orleans,” Levine said. “He has written a few plays for me, including a second production called ‘Housewives of Secaucus.’”
Levine said that the show is primarily performed for senior citizens as a luncheon and only recently have evening performances been added to the production.
“It’s just like a real wedding, but cheaper since you don’t have to bring a gift,” Levine said.
Guests are encouraged to dress up to view the performance, but it is not mandatory. Feel free to take out your old bridesmaid dress or perhaps that tux that you thought you would never wear again.
Tickets include a full-course dinner, with an intermission scheduled before the entrée is served. There will also be a cash bar at the venue, but “it is your responsibility if you get ‘shika,’” Levine said.
As for the cast, Levine said she tries to use the same players for all of her shows “since they all know the plays.”
Philip McLeod leads the 11-person cast, portraying the groom and Mallory Campbell, is his bride, Isabella Mortadella.
Sheldon Green (Chris Palmieri) is the nerdy best man paired with Loretta Pusateri (Aileen Santiago), who stars as the maid of dishonor, a party girl who likes to have a good time.
Astoria native Dino Roscigno portrays Tony Mortadella, the father of the bride and Nancy Lombardo takes on the role of crazy Mama Mortadella. Walter Milani plays Vito Mortadella.
Other characters include Mistress of Ceremony Gina Casina (Alley Mulrain) and Wanda Kuntzler, the ex-girlfriend played by Rori Noogee, who sings “It’s Raining Men.”
Levine describes this event as “dysfunction and chaos at it’s best.”