APT concludes Season 37 with fast, funny musical, “It Shoulda Been You”

APT concludes Season 37 with fast, funny musical, “It Shoulda Been You”

It’s an intimate little wedding — but no one in the Arkansas Public Theatre audience can actually imagine how intimate. Those secrets won’t be revealed until after the “I do’s” have been done.

Music Theatre International calls “It Shoulda Been You” a “wild musical farce with blushing brides, nervous grooms, overbearing moms, unexpected guests and plenty of crazy twists and turns. ‘It Shoulda Been You’ invites you to a wedding day that you’ll never forget, where anything that can go wrong does, and love pops up in mysterious places.”

“As soon as I saw APT was doing another musical, I knew I wanted to be involved,” says Rachel Miller of West Fork, who plays the bride, Rebecca Steinberg. “Then I found out the role was originated by Sierra Boggess on Broadway, and I fell in love with the music.”

“I grew up on the stage! I have been performing since I could walk, and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon,” says Jacob Andrews, who plays the groom, Brian Howard. “Getting to be someone else and tell a new story every time I’m on stage is what keeps me coming back. The thrill of being in front of an audience is electrifying. I love it.

“Brian is a charming guy who comes from a very pretentious Catholic family,” Andrews adds. “He loves his parents but isn’t always so fond of their eccentricities. Brian is definitely a worrier, which I can relate to. He’s trying to balance all the chaos in his life and make sure his wedding day goes smoothly — all while trying to live up to his parents’ expectations.”

“I can’t spoil too much, but me and Rebecca have a lot in common, from being very high strung to her love for those around her,” says Miller, who grew up working with Arts Live Theatre for youth. “There’s not a moment that isn’t funny, and you can never predict where the show will turn to next.”

Of course, what would a wedding be without the mothers of the couple, right? And “It Shoulda Been You” has a couple of doozies — played by Lynn Manning and Allison McElroy.

The groom’s mother, Georgette Howard, is “condescending and feels superior to the Steinberg family in every way. She may have a drinking problem, but, in public, she is the model of the respectable matron,” says McElroy.

“If you asked my family, I think they would say we are one and the same,” says Manning of the bride’s mother, Judy Steinberg. “Judy and I have a lot in common in terms of the way we are sticklers for details and very much want everything to be perfect and to go our way.

“While Judy tends to be very ‘large and in charge’ in her approach to obtaining perfection, I am way more diplomatic than she is,” Manning assures. “To that point though, we both love our families fiercely and would do anything to make sure they were safe and happy.”

Standing in the midst of the chaos and trying to hold everything together is the bride’s sister, Jenny, played by Alex Fry. Her job also includes keeping Rebecca’s ex, Marty, out of the picture.

“He is a very nostalgic and sentimental character, and that resonates with me so much,” says Edward Mount, who plays Marty. “I am extremely sentimental, and I love this character for it. I can’t really think of any ways that my character is not like me.

“Love is a strong force of nature that shouldn’t be opposed,” he adds. “Love always ends up finding a way, so it’s best not to try and go against it.”

Director Brenda Nemec is keeping the biggest plot twists a secret, but she says this to tease APT fans: “I love that it is a musical farce. There are so many fun moments and so many fun characters! [But] you think you know who is getting married when you arrive at a wedding!”

Nemec admits to feeling the responsibility of directing the last show before APT goes dark for remodeling of the Victory Theatre by the city of Rogers.

“I want to go out with a bang,” she says. But vocal director Wendell Jones “reminded both the cast and me to just go out there and make this be the best show ever, regardless of the APT situation. There have been changes in the organization in the past, and we have come out on top!”

“I have always been amazed that our little corner of the world has so many richly talented people that come from all walks of life and professions,” says Manning. “APT has provided the opportunity for so many to share their talents and express their creativity to produce amazing quality live theater experiences to share with our community. We have been so very fortunate to have this gem in our own backyard!

“APT is in a professional class level all their own. Gold standard,” concludes McElroy.



‘It Shoulda Been You’

WHEN — 8 p.m. July 21-22; 2 p.m. July 23; again July 27-30

WHERE — Arkansas Public Theatre at the Victory in Rogers

COST — $25-$55

INFO — arkansaspublictheatre.org/tickets



Beginning Of An Era

When the Victory Theatre reopens sometime in 2024, it will have been transformed from cabaret seating to theater seating — and Arkansas Public Theatre will return to bring it back to life.

“First and foremost, we are excited about the renovation and the possibilities it opens up for APT,” says Rusty Turner, chairman of the APT Board. “We’re sad we’re going to be dark for a number of months, but we’re not going away — and we have plenty of work to do in the meantime to get ready for the new season.”

The abbreviated 2024 season, already announced, will offer “Into the Woods,” “Rent” and “Kinky Boots.” Sponsors are still needed for the shows, Turner says, and “when we begin to ramp up late this year or early next year, be ready to volunteer and to audition!”

In the meantime, Turner hopes APT will “have a few performance opportunities during the fall and winter to keep our name out in front of fans and patrons. And we’re grateful to our friends at the Rogers Historical Museum for the ‘ghost light’ display there, so we encourage folks who need an APT fix or Victory Theatre fix to go take a look at that. It will help inspire folks to be ready when Season 38 gets started!”

Keep up with APT at arkansaspublictheatre.org.


Look Here!

What would the wedding guests have to say in their toasts? APT actors have fun with guessing in this video at nwaonline.com/716shouldbeenyou/.

Categories: Theater