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Some theatrical wedding advice for Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky

July 28, 2010 |  6:30 am

Wedding 11
Chelsea Clinton’s upcoming wedding in Rhinebeck, N.Y., is the social event of the summer. No, I’m not invited. (Guess Chells considers me “outer circle,” which probably makes sense since our paths only crossed once--at a Prada outlet outside New York City, where she was shopping with her now soon-to-be hubby Marc Mezvinsky.)

But having just seen the La Jolla Playhouse production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” a play believed to have been commissioned for a noble wedding, I thought I’d make a gift of advice on how best to handle the entertainment for the nuptials of these scions of the political aristocracy.  
1. Don't go whole hog on the Shakespeare. Even though you have the outdoor setting, it’s doubtful that your guests would want to sit through five acts of a 400-year-old play. But if you could gather together a few exceptional players, you might consider a few excerpts from “Much Ado About Nothing,” “As You Like It” and “Twelfth Night.” I’m going to throw out a pair of names that might not occur to you as romantic leads: Chiwetel Ejiofor and Kate Winslet. Don’t second-guess me, kids. I’m a professional.
2. Think short. It’s too late to commission a full-length work, but how about a romantic one-act? Certain dramatists might be able to handle a crunch deadline. I wouldn’t bother Neil LaBute— he just might instigate your first marital fight. But how about Nilo Cruz, whose writing is renowned for its sensual lyricism, or Sarah Ruhl if you’re in the mood for something a little more quirky? Warning: Call David Mamet, and the divorce lawyers will be next.

3. Make use of the talent already in attendance. Oprah Winfrey surely wouldn’t mind pitching in as emcee. And we hear Barbra Streisand is going to be on hand. Devoted as she is to Stephen Sondheim, it’s probably better to have her stick to Rodgers & Hammerstein. Keep the complexity and ambiguity to a minimum for this one.

4. Last-minute musical invites. Barbara Cook, Christine Ebersole and Brian Stokes Mitchell would happily train up together from New York. If you can get Bernadette Peters to take off from “A Little Night Music,” she’d probably stay at the Rhinebeck home of her best friend, Mary Tyler Moore, and you could offer the extra hotel suite to someone else. (Elaine Stritch, Peters' costar, would no doubt make a killer toast. Give her the room!)

5. Comedy, comedy, comedy. Laughter is the key to marital longevity, so how about some entr'acte stand-up? Personally, I’d love Kathy Griffin or Joan Rivers to entertain at my wedding, but they might set too aggressive a tone for some. How about Eddie Izzard? Just make sure he doesn’t upstage the bride by entering in a blizzard of Vera Wang. 

Remember, Chelsea and Marc: You’re not just spectators of this event—you’re the stars. So don’t let anyone steal your limelight!  To paraphrase Benedick’s sexy words to Beatrice, I hope that you’ll live in each other’s hearts, die in each other’s laps and be buried in each other’s eyes. As we say on the Rialto, mazel tov!

--Charles McNulty

Photo: A painting by local artist Diana Huff congratulating Chelsea Clinton and her fiance Marc Mezvinsky hangs in the window of a shop in Rhinebeck. Credit: Mike Segar / Reuters