Jingle the wedding bells

The first show from Second City Theatricals will arrive at the Kimmel Center on Wednesday. Over the years, the Chicago-based troupe has spawned a who’s who of sketch artists (including John Belushi, Bill Murray and Martin Short) who burst into national consciousness on shows like Saturday Night Live and SCTV.

My Cousin’s Wedding is reminiscent of those late-night classics at their best. Anyone who ever has wanted to throw more than rice at the bride and groom is cordially invited to get comedic revenge at this play. From the paranoia of choosing the wedding gift to the humiliation of performing the chicken dance at the reception, an unmarried couple faces the marathon merriness of a relative’s wedding. Created by the comic geniuses at Second City, the show won a Best New Script award for its world premiere in Detroit.

Maribeth Monroe and Kirk Hanley, who share writing credit, also share the stage as Meg and Mike, an unmarried couple invited to her cousin Cheryl’s wedding. They hop around in time and space from the actual ceremony to the reception to all that precedes the big day, illustrating the many indignities inflicted upon friends and family by the unseen bride and groom.

This two-character romantic comedy will play well on any stage. Using the conventions of sketch comedy, Wedding is a coherent, touching and funny full-length play about a couple who begin to examine their relationship in light of another couple’s wedding. Meg and Mike love each other, live together and think they’re content.

Making their way to a wedding, however, they launch into a series of fights over everything from Meg’s relatives to the directions Mike refuses to look at. Somehow during their ongoing fracas, Mike (sort of) proposes, sending the couple spiraling into a series of stressful flashbacks.

The playwrights fashion a complex, strikingly real relationship between their characters that allows for love and frustration, dedication and doubt. Much of the humor comes from Meg’s and Mike’s relaxed sarcastic banter — lighthearted, mostly loving couple-speak that comes from knowing each other so well.

The play’s central issues have been covered in countless plays, but Hanley and Monroe approach them in a novel way — creating something new from a mix of broad humor, sharp wit and truly moving dialogue.

They even walk down the aisle — the theater aisle, that is — greeting audience members as if they were wedding guests. They mingle just long enough to make playgoers feel included in the festivities, heading back on stage before they wear out their welcome. The end result is a tightly crafted comedy that promises to be highly entertaining.

Confusion reigns supreme among the guests as the Goldbergs and Borleones attempt to tie the knot in the zany Godfather’s Meshuggener Wedding. It has been called a masterful m�lange of sight gags, tomfoolery, music and misunderstandings.

If you’ve ever attended a mixed marriage, there are just bound to be some culture clashes and compromises are endured by both sides in an effort not to offend anyone — but this wedding promises to be a screech!

The maid of honor arrives with toilet paper trailing behind her, the rabbi and Catholic priest argue over who will officiate the wedding and Don, the father of the bride, forgets his Jewish son-in-law’s name, so he decides to call him "forever more" Vincenzo.

Stirring up the commotion among the "captive" dinner guests are several shady-looking characters. Wearing dark suits, fedoras and sunglasses, these mobsters secure positions around the perimeter of the catering hall. With fists in pocket, they assume spread-legged stances while surveying the territory. You can bet they will take turns working over the crowd.

The interactive cast of characters sings, dances up a storm and does comedy and pratfalls. And in between all of this, they manage to get almost everybody up on the floor to dance the Hora and the Tarantella, form conga lines, line-dance the Electric Slide, the Macarena and there’s no telling what else.

The interactive event is created and produced by Rick Stack and Anne Marie O’Farrell and directed by Bill Primavera, all from New York. This show has been running for the past 10 years in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

My Cousin’s Wedding
Wednesday-Dec. 20, 8 p.m.; Dec. 21, 2 p.m.
Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater
260 S. Broad St.
Tickets: $22.50-$37.50

The Godfather’s Meshuggener Wedding
Various dates
Occasions by Galdo
20th Street and Moyamensing Avenue
Hilton Valley Forge
Tickets, $52.95, includes a three-course meal