BWW Reviews: SINGIN' IN THE RAIN Brings the Motion Picture to Life at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre
Recreating this iconic movie on the stage is an ever-daunting task but has been a staple of the regional theatre scene since it closed on Broadway in the mid 1980s. There are not many noticeable adaptations or deviations from the original Comden and Green 1952 film, and this may be an inherent flaw in the piece. Add to that the obvious preconceptions and expectations nearly every theatergoer has upon venturing out to experience a production, and any producer will know they have their work cut out for them. However, there is also something to be said for the ability to trust such a tried and true combination of song and dance that has the promise to delight on a presentational level, at the very least.
This co-production opened at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre on January 8th after having transferred from the Fulton Theatre in Lancaster, PA. With such high-caliber talent involved, from production to performance, a certain amount of innovation is expected. While director-choreographer Marc Robin made sure to place every Kodak moment in its correct spot, one wonders what new heights the show could have reached had he taken the liberty to find new ways to tell this story.
The performers varied in degrees of actual living and breathing human beings to slightly empty versions of archetypical MGM film stars. Emily Stockdale as the hilariously obnoxious Lina Lamont dramatically stands apart from her generic counterparts through the specificity of every annoying sound she makes. Also shining through the partly cloudy skies, were Lauren Blackman's down-to-earth Kathy whose soothing voice helped fill out the memorable trio "Good Mornin'" and Nathan Meyer's crystal clear tenor on "Beautiful Girl." The ensemble added cohesion to big production numbers such as "Broadway Melody" with clean lines and tight choreography.
The production values of Singin' in the Rain are what the South Florida theatre community has come to expect from the Maltz Jupiter Theatre's large-scale musicals, complete with the necessary rain for the big number at the end of Act I that many audience members were prepared for (covered from head to toe in plastic ponchos) from the top of the show. Fortunately, it seems that the SeaWorld element of the production was greatly anticipated, and Robin took every opportunity to spray and splash as much water into the house as he could get away with. Rounded out by Anthony Lascoskie Jr.'s glitzy 1920s costumes and highlighted by Paul Black's lighting and Marty Mets's sound design, this Singin' in the Rain will certainly leave you humming its memorable tunes, but you may also find yourself wanting to rewatch the film in order to remember what made this story leap off the screen in the first place.
Nathan Meyer as Production Tenor with Ensemble. Photo Credit: Alicia Donelan