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Light Opera Guild flashes back to the ‘80s with ‘The Wedding Singer’

By Bill Lynch, Staff writer
LAWRENCE PIERCE | Gazette
(From left) Cameron Lucas Burford, Mark Parsons-Justice, Ethan Lyvers, Lauren Meyer, Scott Jarrell and Katlin Kouns star in the Charleston Light Opera Guild’s production of “The Wedding Singer,” opening Friday.

A lot of actors have dream roles. Not many of them would consider appearing in a musical based on an Adam Sandler movie a “dream role,” but then again, not everybody is 25-year-old Lauren Meyer.

Meyer stars in the Charleston Light Opera Guild’s production of “The Wedding Singer,” which opens Friday at the Civic Center Little Theater. She takes on the role of Julia, played by Drew Barrymore in the film and Laura Benanti on Broadway.

“It’s my favorite show,” Meyer said. “I was a huge Adam Sandler fan.”

Meyer said she watched the ‘80s-themed comedy growing up but hadn’t heard about the musical until she was studying theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York a few years ago.

“Oh my gosh,” she said. “It was so awesome. I read the script and just fell in love with it.”

For fans of the movie, Meyer said there are some differences, but the musical comedy follows the basic story about a wedding singer who falls in love with a waitress.

“It’s a hysterical comedy with sweet undertones,” she said. “There are a few different songs, but I think they’re better. They advance the story along.”

Other than that, it’s still very much a story about love in the time of big hair and questionable fashion — a time the 25-year-old and many other cast members have no real memory of.

Meyer was born in 1989. The movie didn’t even come out until she was 9. The ‘80s are history to her.

She laughed about it.

“We had a cast talk about the ‘80s,” Meyer said. “Miss Pasinetti wanted us to be authentic to the decade and to understand the humor.”

It was all in good fun, and Meyer said she had a blast.

“I love period shows, especially one that’s set in an era as wild as the ‘80s. You get to immerse yourself in the fads and trends, which feel very different now.”

Meyer is still new to the area. She and her boyfriend, Stephen Hayward, moved to Charleston a little more than a year ago and were instant members of the local community theater scene.

“The first thing, before we moved down here, we made sure there was a community theater we could become involved in,” she said.

They found Charleston Light Opera Guild, which was doing a production of “Legally Blonde” at the time.

“I got really excited,” Meyer said. “That’s not an easy production to do. I knew I wanted to get involved right away.”

So, she and Hayward did. A week after they moved to Charleston, Meyer auditioned for the guild’s production of “The Civil War.” She got her first part and has been in five other shows since then.

“The Wedding Singer” will make her seventh and her boyfriend’s sixth. (He plays Harold, a Billy Idol impersonator.)

Meyer said he got his first role in the guild’s production of “Chicago.”

“Show after show, they just had a great season lined up, and I just didn’t want to take a break,” she said. “If you love something, why take a break from it?”

Meyer said Charleston has been really good to herand her boyfriend.

“Moving from Clyde, Ohio, to New York City was kind of a culture shock,” she said. “Clyde is very small, and New York is huge. Charleston is a nice in-between, where you run into people you know all the time, but it has a lot of the accessibility of a big city. And you’re not stuck in a place where you can’t be outdoors much.

“Here, in five minutes, you can be in Kanawha State Forest. We think it’s a perfect balance, and we’re happy here.”

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com, 304-348-5195 or follow @LostHwys on Twitter.


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