Italian Americans had Tony and Tina’s Wedding, Greek Americans had My Big, Fat Greek Wedding, and now Lebanese Americans have The Lebanese-Redneck Wedding:
“The Lebanese-Redneck Wedding,” which opens Friday at The Waterhouse, aims to gently spoof all things central Illinois from television news personalities and homegrown politicians like Aaron Schock to self-proclaimed rednecks and that most ubiquitous of local ethnic groups — namely, Lebanese-Americans.
“With Peoria having a large and very prominent Lebanese community, we thought that would be something special to our area,” [Andrew] Driscoll [writer and director] said. “And looking for a good clash of cultures and ideas, they came up ‘red neck’ — which would be representing the southern regions of central Illinois. We came up with this storyline together based on what a wedding reception typically is. We do 70 of those a year. So I have a good idea of how a wedding reception runs.”
“The thing about Lebanese people that’s kind of the joke — everyone is related, everyone is a cousin of someone,” said Jimmy LaHood, who plays the role of the groom. “We’re hoping that all the audience that attends will be part of a big Lebanese community, so that anyone who comes, Lebanese or not, will feel like there’s a big family here, and all these relatives are here — cousin after cousin after cousin and everyone is celebrating.”
Not a far pitch from Australia’s “tell your cousins in the dozens” jet-ski safety campaign.