This weekend, the Hinman Production Company (HPC) will be staging performances of “It Shoulda Been You,” a musical about dysfunctional families and falling in love with someone from the wrong side of the tracks.
The musical comedy, which takes place in the present, revolves around the wedding day of Rebecca Steinberg and Brian Howard, an interfaith couple. Rebecca Steinberg, played by Anna Rizzotti, a junior majoring in mathematics, and Brian Howard, played by Kevin Wallace, a sophomore double-majoring in computer science and mathematics, struggle with typical wedding-day chaos, as well as the tensions between both families and their religious differences.
Rose Schonfeld, director of the musical and a senior majoring in psychology, said she has personal connections with the plot, which encouraged her to take a major part in the production.
“The musical is about an interfaith marriage, which is what my family also is,” Schonfeld said.
Schonfeld is not alone in this association. Many of her castmates said they come from backgrounds similar to that of their characters. Sophie Cohen, who plays Georgette Howard in the musical and is a freshman double-majoring in integrative neuroscience and Spanish, was one such cast member for whom the characters struck a chord.
“My stepbrother recently got married to a woman who came from a Southern Baptist family in Texas,” Cohen said. “My family, a bunch of New York Jews, flew down to Texas for the wedding, creating a dynamic similar to the Steinberg-Howard wedding.”
Tova Goldfischer, a junior majoring in human development, plays the role of Jenny Steinberg. She said she also has a personal connection to her character. Jenny’s younger sister is getting married before her, and she also receives constant comments about her weight and looks from her mother.
“I knew of the show when it was on Broadway, and I always had identified with the character of Jenny,” Goldfischer said. “This character has gotten me through a lot of personal stuff in my life, so being able to give my version of this character that has actually improved so much of my life is the biggest honor in the world.”
Stephen Ponesse, a junior majoring in business administration, who plays Greg Madison, said he sees the importance of family as a takeaway from this production.
“If you currently have or ever had a family, there is something here for you,” Ponesse said. “You will walk away smiling and probably wanting to call your mom and dad.”
Ponesse’s sentiment rings especially true when Rebecca finally reveals that she has unresolved feelings toward her parents late in the show. Characters sing about how each of the families had their own secrets and how their plans didn’t work out — all leading back to the main idea of the play, when they exclaim in unison, “That’s family!”
“It Shoulda Been You” will be playing at the Hinman Commons at 8 p.m. on April 19, 20 and 21. There will also be a 2 p.m. performance on April 21. Tickets will be sold at $5 for students, faculty and alumni and $8 for adults and general admission.