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'Subway Wedding' Surprises Commuters

A-train riders in New York were surprised recently to stumble upon a subway-wedding-turned-melee during the evening commute.

Although many people believed they were watching a real wedding, the Northern Manhattan UP Theater Company had staged the "Blessed Event" at the 181st and 168th Street stations to protest the recent removal by the MTA of the stations' token booths there.

Using the footprint left by the former token booths as a stage, Matt Higgins attempted to marry Stephanie Skyllas to Rik Walters. Playing the role of Priest, Mr. Higgins welcomed the guests, which included both actors and unsuspecting straphangers. After inviting passersby to watch, photograph and tweet the wedding (#subwaywedding), "Father Matt" asked if anyone had "any objection [to] speak now or forever hold their peace."

A commuter spoke up, saying that marriage is a barbaric and outdated institution. As the interloper, played by UP Theater's Artistic Director, James Bosley, became increasingly agitated, some good Samaritans attempted to hold him at bay. The situation devolved into a (staged) fight, with the groom storming off through the turnstiles, and celebrants holding each other in headlocks.

Mr. Bosley offered the reveal when he shouted: "This would NEVER have happened if there were still a token booth here."

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The Party Photobooth Limited

"I think there should be more weddings in subways," observed one commuter. "It obviously causes a reaction from folks." Another commented, "To see when the groom was choking the priest: that was kind of shocking to me."

Once above ground, passersby posted photographs of the Blessed Event on Twitter and Facebook. Josh Laird tweeted a picture, writing: "Only in New York! Congratulations Stephanie and Rick," which he retracted minutes later: "Nevermind. It's fake."

A professional videographer also documented the event.

Said Elizabeth Lorris Ritter, a long-time area resident (and commuter): "When I saw the bare spots where the booths used to be, I thought they'd be a perfect location for a short play, with a captive audience built right in. So I called my friends at UP Theater."

Mssrs. Higgins and Bosley fleshed out the idea for a wedding, and tapped other members of the company for the additional roles, including fathers of the bride and groom, flower-girls, wedding singers, and a Church Lady who offered an appropriate scriptural reading. "We wanted to use humor to highlight the loss of this important service. The booth attendants offered a measure of safety, and we miss that," Higgins explained.

After getting on the train and heading to 168th Street for a second "wedding," the celebrants adjourned to Coogan's Restaurant for a reception. Owner Peter Walsh treated the group to a champagne toast on the house, who were then serenaded by the karaoke singers from the bar. When one singer unknowingly belted out "Son of a Preacher Man," "Father Matt" and the "Groom" jumped in for an impromptu dance/back-up. To round out the evening, the "happy couple" -- who, for the record are happily married to other people -- performed a spot-on rendition of the B-52's "Love Shack."

You can watch the video on youtube

Formed in 2010, UPTheater Company is dedicated to presenting new and challenging works of drama and comedy relevant to our Uptown neighborhood. UP is not afraid to be gritty, rambunctious, irreverent. By and for the community, UP takes advantage of the many theatre artists who live among us even as we envision theater that is a destination for theatergoers from all across the area, drawn by work of quality and passion.


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0.03125 Ban:3, But:3 25/11/2015

"A-train riders in New York were surprised recently to stumble upon a subway-wedding-turned-melee during the evening commute."