Probably more painful, too, because chances are the average wedding-party member would be a lot less musically adept than the performers in the sweetly funny dinner-theater production “Once Upon a Wedding.”
The show, running through Saturday at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, has nine characters who are all grappling with matrimonial disaster (or at least disappointment) of one kind or another.
Actually, the story casts a wider net than that, if you count all the playgoers who are coaxed and cajoled to participate. (Take that as either a promise or a warning.)
The talented singer Lisa Laughbaum, head of Laughing Tree Productions (and the show’s chief writer), plays the wedding entertainer Liza, who is lamenting her own lack of marital luck. She’s in a long-term but lackluster relationship with the musician Bill (real-life husband Michael Laughbaum).
The lucky couple at the ceremony’s center have their own woes: Daisy Dudley (Lindsey Pino, an appealing actress with a powerful voice) is getting cold feet while her parents, Robert and Zina (Eric Olson and Debbie David), bicker. That leaves the groom, a bit too cutely named Davis Do-Wright (Mitchell McCollum), to cool his own heels on the sidelines.
Zina also is near fisticuffs with the loopy bridesmaid Debbie (an amusing Anna Suzette), while young Chris Crost (Ian Laughbaum) is freaking out over taking over as wedding coordinator from his dad, who’s stuck in Mexico with the rest of the wedding party. Meantime, the serial groom Uncle Julie (likable Harold MacPherson Jr.) is trolling for his next bride.
It all proves a lot to take in. (And one heartwarming moment in which longtime couples in the audience are asked the secrets of marriage runs awkwardly into a bit about infidelity).
But the setting is attractive, and there are gentle laughs on the menu, along with a satisfying dinner, plus champagne and cake. And at least in this tuneful vision of (eventual) wedded bliss, there’s nothing that can’t be solved with a nice round of “All You Need Is Love.”
“Once Upon a Wedding”
When: 7 p.m. Friday; 7 p.m. Saturday.
Where: California Center for the Arts, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido.
Tickets: General admission $69; VIP $99. (Dinner is included; discounts for children and seniors.)
Phone: (760) 591-3113