Mullets vs. money

By Kristi Casey Sanders

Actress Erin Elizabeth Coors isn’t old enough to remember the 1980s (she was born in 1982), but she’s gotten a crash course in the decade’s music, style and moral quandaries, playing sweet Julia Sullivan in The Wedding Singer . Based on the Adam Sandler movie, the musical is a comedic romp through the New Jersey wedding circuit, where one man, Robbie Hart, dominates the scene with his totally ’80s tunes.

“If you’ve seen the movie, expect to see the same kind of love story with some added things,” Coors says. “There are twists and turns, and it’s high energy from the minute the curtain opens. I have been studying it for one and a half months and I still laugh at all the jokes.”

Coors says that keeping a straight face has been the most challenging part of rehearsal. “The director will say, ‘That was great, now do it again without laughing.’ Sometimes, I try to bite the inside of my cheek as hard as I can. I’ve realized that sometimes you need a little pain to keep you in the moment.” Especially, she says, when she sees people she’s grown to know and love walk onstage wearing huge mullets, belt buckles and combat boots.

“We should all just agree that the mullet should not exist unless it’s on stage,” Coors says.

“On one of my costumes – it’s a wedding dress – I’ve got this wide, white plether belt that’s wrapped around my waist,” she continues. “I just think it’s so funny that a bride, on the day she’s supposed to look her best, would think, ‘I’m going to put a big plether belt on and I’ll look so much better.’” Coors says she’ll miss some of the clothes when the tour ends, especially her pink Keds covered in puffy paint.

The Wedding Singer isn’t only bad haircuts and mysterious clothing choices. “The director really pushes that this isn’t just a funny show with crazy things going on,” Coors says. “There is a beautiful story about love, and finding yourself and what’s important in this world.”

Coors’ character Julia starts off the show engaged to a Wall Street shark who refuses to set a date for their wedding. “She’s fallen in love with this guy, and he’s kind of changed,” Coors explains. “He’s got his money, and now he treats her different. Then, she meets this other guy who’s really sweet and makes her laugh. She has to really wrestle with whether to marry for love or money in this time when money is everything.

“I love the journey my character takes, but my favorite moment isn’t even one I’m in,” she continues. “It’s when they are doing an anniversary party for Robbie’s grandma and grandpa, and they are celebrating 50 years of marriage. His grandma gives this speech about how they met at the podiatrist’s office and they both had infected feet and fell in love … and here’s to 50 more years in your arms. And that’s what the show’s about – being who you want to be with forever more.”

The Wedding Singer plays The Fabulous Fox Theatre Oct. 16-21.