“It Shoulda Been You,” at Segal Centre for Performing Arts until June 25, is the latest from Montreal’s celebrated Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre. DWYT performs in English and Yiddish, with supertitles in English and French, seamlessly blending community theatre with high-end production. Brian Hargrove’s play, translated by Edit Kuper and Aron Gonshor, is skillfully directed and choreographed by Jim White, and is guaranteed to win over audiences of all ages. Barbara Amselmi’s score, brought to life by superb Music Director Nick Burgess, is lively and joyous. Marjolaine Provençal’s sets are classy and chic; Louise Bourret’s costumes add the perfect touch of luxe deserving of a wedding.
“Shoulda” is a modern Romantic Comedy, with a twist. Naomi Krajden and Justin Muniz play Rebecca and Brian, whose wedding day is in turmoil, thanks to her bossy Jewish family and his uptight Anglo Saxon parents. When Naomi’s ex-boyfriend Marty shows up, via her sister Jenny, the confetti really hits the fan. Krajden, who is also the play’s Assistant Director, is sweet and endearing. Groom-to-be Muniz is especially charming in a song-and-dance with his father, played by Merv Middling. Rebecca’s parents, hilarious Karen Karpmen and Sam Stein, shine as good-hearted nudges who only want happiness for their daughters.
The heart and soul of “Shoulda” belongs to Rosie Callaghan as stoical Jenny, a frequent target of her mother’s barbs. While not Yiddish-speaking, Callaghan’s fluid, heart-felt vocals are absolutely flawless, bringing tears to our eyes. Jenny’s scenes with Marty, played by adorable Mikey Samra, are magical. My only grumble: Though Jenny frequently laments her “overweight” physique, the actress is anything but.
Opening night’s performance had an extra special finale, when Muniz and cast mate Mike Melino declared their real-life love. From the reactions of cast and crew, it was obvious that “community” is at the heart of the DWYT. Since June is the traditional month for weddings, The Segal Centre’s “It Shoulda Been You” is the perfect accompaniment; a bubbly mix of romance, giddiness and genuine affection. L’chaim!
“It Shoulda Been You”
Until June 25, 2017
Segal Centre for Performing Arts
5170 Cote Ste. Catherine Rd.