Anthony Wilkinson is a talented and vibrant personality who also is doing good for the LGBT community.
Wilkinson has created a great series of plays about a “big Italian” family and its cycles through life.
The first play, “My Big Gay Italian Wedding,” ran in New York for years and has played in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, Vermont, Hong Kong and in Europe. It’s even found a fanbase in Wisconsin and Oklahoma.
The stories have continued with “My Big Gay Italian Funeral,” “My Big Gay Italian Midlife Crisis” and “My Big Gay Italian Christmas.”
Likely see a trend here but when it comes to Wilkinson, you are guaranteed two things: gay and Italian.
While his shows have played some diverse cities and has attracted some interesting guest actors over the years including Lance Bass from NSYNC and Reichen Lehmkuhl from “The Amazing Race,” there’s one thing that has remained constant: the shows are a riot and have kept audiences laughing since debuting in 2003.
I was lucky enough to catch up with Wilkinson recently about the return of his show to Los Angeles. While he will be there opening weekend which starts March 8, he actually isn’t involved in the production other than as the writer.
In talking to Wilkinson I found out more about the man, than I did about the show. Wilkinson is very active in the “It Gets Better” anti-bias/harassment forum.
“It was a hardship for me growing up,” Wilkinson says as he was a victim of bullying so he uses this forum as a way to give back. “If I can help one person, I feel my contribution was worth it.”
Wilkinson recently spoke at a high school in New Jersey and is willing to keep doing this as he has done for years. “It takes a lot out of me emotionally, but the positive emails and messages I get after make it completely worth my time and travels.”
His travels for work and volunteer work do take Emmy winning Wilkinson to many places. While his shows are registered for licensing and can be done without his involvement, he will sometimes go to the productions to support the show and its team.
Wilkinson will be coming to Los Angeles just for the return of “Gay Wedding,” which is coming back to LA after a three week sold out run last year. Its return will once again have Gianfranco Terrin in the driver’s seat and as its leading star.
You can’t find a more Italian actor to play the lead role as Terrin was born in Italy and is proud of his homeland and might invite you for pizza if you happen to be in Naples when he’s visiting home.
Terrin, a truly sexy charismatic actor, is proud of his association with “Italian Wedding” and it’s been a project he’s wanted to be involved with over 10 years ago.
“When I first saw it I wanted to be part of it buy my English then wasn’t so good,” he said as he was rehearsing for the show’s opening. “Back then, my English consistent of saying ‘Yes,’ ‘No’ and ‘Repeat’,” he laughs. “So obliviously I wasn’t quite ready.”
But now his English is so much better and he will make his character very endearing as he has a very sexy Italian accent, which he will use in the show (while Wilkinson’s characterization was a New York Italian). Fans of the show know it can be done many and different ways as it was already made into a feature film in Italian.
Terrin is such a convincing actor that when he did “Wedding” last year he surprised his cast that he’s straight, but still drool-worthy for us bear fans.
Back to the show…Terrin says half of the original cast is coming back but he’s going to do something a little different. Actors will be alternating roles so if you see if multiple times you might get a different spin and perhaps an almost different show every time. Does that make him nervous? “No…more challenging and exciting for sure but the adrenaline is propelling me.”
“Wedding” plays through March at LA’s Hudson Theatre. To get tickets, go to https://tinyurl.com/GayWedLA