Audiences participate directly in the fun when Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding returns to the Abdo New River Room at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts Thursday, April 4 through Sunday, April 14.
From the first toast to the last slice of cake, audiences join in the fun as a guest of Tony and Tina along with their colorful and madcap Italian-American families as they eat, drink, dance, converse and get caught up in the festivities of this all-inclusive, interactive experience. The ticket price even includes an old-world Italian buffet, wedding cake and champagne toast.
In a show that The New York Post calls “a wedding to remember!,” audiences rub elbows with an alcoholic priest, the groom’s strip-club-owner uncle, a drug-dealing best man and many other wacky wedding guests. In fact, you’ll never know who you’ll meet: the title roles are played by real-life couple Emily Dinova and Gregory Cioffi who fell in love when they met during rehearsals for the New York production.
As one of New York’s longest running comedies, Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding has won the hearts of more than 500,000 people since its opening night in 1988—playing in over 100 cities across the US, Europe and Asia.
It was a pleasure to sit down with Rafael and Tyler, who play the gay couple, for this exclusive Hotspots interview.
At what age did you begin performing, and how did it happen?
Rafael – I started performing when I was in Elementary school. I played the role of Jelly Roll Morton in We Had Jazz. I had 2 lines and I thought I was the bee’s knees. I got bit by the acting bug and knew this is where I would be for life.
Tyler – I started when I was 8 years old as I was cast as a munchkin in the Wizard of Oz, and I never stopped since then. I continued doing shows until I went to college for theater.
What was your first professional/paid role?
Rafael – Out of college, my friends and I put together a show based off on World War 2 and the Holocaust. The show toured in England and that’s the first acting performance I got paid for.
Tyler – I was performing at Disney World in Orlando for a few years, but my first professional Theater gig was for Spamalot in the Orlando Shakespeare Theater.
Other than this role, what has been your favorite to play?
Rafael – I wrote a one man show about Pedro Zamora (MTV Reality star). I felt it was something important to tell, and it was compelling to learn about his upbringing, and to create something unique from it.
Tyler – I played Jack in “Into The Woods.”
Since this show has been around since 1988, is there extra pressure on you guys as actors?
Rafael – No because every actor come to this show with their own interpretation of the role, so that’s what makes it special.
Tyler – I agree, I think that since it’s an improv based show, the show is based on what we will bring to it as performers.
What is your fantasy role?
Rafael – I honestly don’t know. Right now, what I prefer to act in is the work I create from the ground up. I want to inspire the world to create change through my art.
Tyler – Obviously Elphaba…LOL!
What should our readers expect from this production of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding?
Expect a lot of ridiculousness, a lot of fun and joy, moments of authenticity and vulnerability and definitely a lot of presence. They should also expect the show to be very gay, and have a lot of interaction and dancing. Come dressed as if you are going to a real wedding because that’s essentially what it is. This is a show where the actors get to know you. You will feel like you are crashing a wedding, and will get to experience lots of family drama.
For more information on Rafael: Instagram.com/Essentially_Rafe.
For more information on Tyler go to Instagram.com/T_counts.
Performance times are Thursday–Friday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 1 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 and 6 p.m. Tickets are $67.50-$77.50. Buy tickets online at BrowardCenter.org or Ticketmaster.com; by phone at 954.462.0222 or the Broward Center’s AutoNation Box Office (201 SW Fifth Avenue in Fort Lauderdale).