October 12, 2003, at the Soho Playhouse in Greenwich Village, played the musical that changed my life. Literally. (And I’m not one of those people who uses “literally” when I mean “figuratively.”)
The wonderful Joy Dewing, in a made-for-her dress, and I, in my cutaway, made our entrances as single people. By the end of the show, we were married.
Our Wedding was an original musical. The only spoken line was the preacher’s “I now pronounce you married; you may kiss.” It was a real wedding as well as a real musical, filled with laughter and tears. Our Wedding, as far as I know, is unique in the history of musicals and the history of weddings. The Original Cast Recording sells at http://www.weddingmusical.com/
The question I get most often is: How did you convince your parents to sing? Our folks aren’t performers, singers, or hams, but a bride and groom have considerable sway, one time in their lives, to get people to do anything. And it helped that both sets of parents are divorced, so they don’t communicate with each other that often. So I could say “Dad, will you sing an original song I tailor to your abilities at our wedding?” And he could demur and I could say “That’s too bad, because Mom and Joy’s folks already said yes, so you’ll be conspicuous by your absence.” And then Joy could say “Mom, will you sing an original song Noel tailors to your abilities at our wedding?” And she could demur and Joy could say “That’s too bad, because Daddy and Noel’s folks already said yes, so you’ll be conspicuous by your absence.” And so on, until all four had agreed.
It was easier to convince the Bridesmaids, who’d all performed with Joy in college. And my Best Man, a woman who performs in musicals and plays in San Francisco. Most remarkably, my niece sang her way down the aisle as Flower Girl, at the ripe old age of four.
In writing lyrics, you always want to know as much about the character you’re writing for as possible. Here, in writing for my sister and my closest friend, I had a huge stock of personal history to draw upon. Their songs are stuffed with anecdotes that actually happened. Taking ample time to write, and with Joy’s help, I could anticipate jokes that could be made about the event – “Why does it have to be a musical?” and the triple-entendre of Dewing-Katz. And I’ve found it’s extremely valuable to know your audience: How often to you get to exert total control over who comes to see your show?
These included The New York Times‘ James Barron, who wrote a page-long article with photos for The Paper of Record. (On the backside was a small blurb about the wedding of two rather famous musical theatre writers.) Jeffrey Sweet was moved to write an article for Dramatics and Peter Filichia raved about the cast album in his Theatremania diary. While this was a show that could only be performed once, the good news is that the marriage continues, joyously: all those sung vows were kept.