Resort gets ready to party … like it’s 1985


Stage kids gear up for night of big hair and even bigger 80s shoulder pads

The lead actors in Wakatipu High’s new musical The Wedding Singer are already seasoned stage veterans. 

Aged just 16 and 17, students Max Gunn, Caleb Dawson-Swale, Emily Burns and Molly Devine are already used to being in the spotlight. 

The talented teens have all performed in past school shows and last year appeared in Showbiz Queenstown’s Les Miserables. Caleb and Emily are also fresh from starring in Oliver! at the Memorial Hall last month. 

“They’re a very talented bunch of kids. They’ll give anything a go,” show director and drama teacher for Wakatipu High, Rebecca McArthur says of The Wedding Singer cast. 

A total 80 kids are among the cast, band, singers and backstage crew, following a stampede of lads wanting to take part. The witty script was a big a draw card, McArthur says. 

“It’s 1980s style and it’s very funny. The kids relate to it a lot better because they have all seen the movie.” 

The Wedding Singer, starring Hollywood funnyman Adam Sandler was a worldwide hit when it came out in 1998 – and the school version aims to do the story justice. Some raunchy scenes have been toned down to make it more family-friendly. 

“We’ve had to edit quite a few lines,” McArthur says. 

“Basically it’s the same,” Max adds. “We have quite a bit more music and a few different scenes that you have to look forward to.” 

The plot 

Wedding singer Robbie Hart is the life and soul of the party – or wedding – until his high school sweetheart Linda ditches him at the altar. Bitter and cynical, Robbie sets out to make every wedding he performs at as miserable as his own until a young waitress, Julia, steals his heart. Unfortunately, the leading lady is getting hitched to Glen, a dodgy stock broker who likes to spread his affections around. There are no barriers to Robbie’s attempts to win/sing over the girl of his dreams. 

The story has it all – big hair, 80’s pop songs and a love story mixed in.


The Wedding Singer plays nightly at the Memorial Hall from June 15-18. Tickets cost $10 for students and $15 for adults. Tickets are available from the school office or the venue on the night.