Fanfare: City Theatre welcomes full house for opening night of ‘Wild With Happy’ |
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Joanna Obuzon, Opening Night of “Wild With Happy,” City Theatre, Southside. April 14, 2017.

It was promised that there would be dancing in the seats—of which only one remained ahead of opening night for City Theatre’s latest comedy, “Wild With Happy,” on April 14.

Which probably wouldn’t have sounded too strange… had the show not been inspired by conversations about death. But flipping convention on its head was kind of the point.

“We like to say the play is overflowing with love and laughter,” said director Reginald Douglas. “In this world, we need 90 minutes of fun.”

It’s exactly what the full house got for the Pittsburgh debut of the Off-Broadway hit by Colman Domingo. For those 90 minutes, there was no stopping the release of audible delight as actors Monteze Freeland, Corey Jones, Jason Shavers and C. Kelly Wright pulled the room in for an unapologetic poke at the grieving process.

“It’s a hot item,” said artistic director Tracy Brigden. “It’s everything a play should be. It’s hilarious. It’s moving. It’s up to the minute. It’s fierce.”

And while it seemed a fat chance that the idea of carting mother’s ashes to Disney World could strike a chord, it wasn’t too farfetched for some.

“I did take my great aunt’s ashes to prom by mistake,” said managing director James McNeel. “Not as a date, to clarify. They were in the trunk of her sister’s car that I borrowed.”

Spied: Tacy Byham, Reshma Paranjpe, Ken and Pam McCrory, Denise Johnson and Norman Brown, Matt Galando, Joe and Laura Palmieri, general manager Natalie Hatcher, stage manager Joanna Obuzor, Theresa and John Ford, Dr. Valerie and Ron Lawrence.

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