BWW Reviews: Broadway In The Park Presents a Spectacular SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at its 5th Annual Summer Festival

BWW Reviews: Broadway In The Park Presents a Spectacular SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at its 5th Annual Summer Festival

Celebrating its 5th year anniversary, Broadway In The Park and Gensler are presenting SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at this year's summer theatre festival, August 7, 8, 9, and 10 at El Segundo Recreation Park Softball Field. Director and Executive Producer Jeff Cason remarks, "This year's show will be our most ambitious yet. We're entertaining our guests with big tap dance numbers, movies interspersed with the live action, and real rain onstage for the title number. It will truly be the MGM classic film brought to life for kids and adults!"

And SINGIN' IN THE RAIN is all that and more, from the incredibly talented four lead actors to the marvelous costumes designed by Diana Mann and splendid choreography by Ann Myers. See it with your family and give your kids a chance to see a professionally-staged musical under the stars. The four leads have performed in this show together before, and their camaraderie, as well as their great dancing and singing skills, enhance every single number in the show.

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN tells the story of the first Hollywood movie musical in 1927, when the silver screen found its voice and left silent movies - and some of its stars - behind. Two of Monumental Pictures' biggest stars, glamorous on-screen couple Lina Lamont (Ann Myers, stretching her vocal cords to the most ear-splitting timbre) and Don Lockwood (handsome and debonair Wesley Alfvin), perpetuate the public perception they are a couple off-screen as well if only to please their adoring fans and bring people into the movie theaters. In reality, Don barely tolerates her, while Lina simplemindedly believes what she sees on screen to be true in order to bolster her own stardom and sense of self-importance.

After a screening of their new movie, the laughable "The Royal Rascal" (which we get to watch on a large screen), Don decides to take a walk to an industry party to get away from Lina. While attempting to outsmart fans who recognize him, Don takes a seat on a bus bench next to Kathy Seldon (Savannah Ackerman, the perfect girl next door who sings like an angel), a chorus girl who fancies herself a serious theatrical actress on her way to New York.

Despite their less than friendly initial meeting, Kathy stays in town and the two secretly start dating so as not to disturb the publicity machine for Don and Lina's films. Their flirty duet "You Were Meant for Me" celebrates their blossoming love in a very entertaining and family-friendly way.

Then "The Jazz Singer" opens and everything changes for the movie industry. R.F. Simpson (Jack Messenger), Monumental's head, knows he must jump on the talking picture bandwagon, despite no one at the studio knowing anything about the technology.

Don's best friend, musician Cosmo Brown (wonderfully physical comedian and dancer Sam Cavanaugh who shines singing "Make 'Em Laugh") gets hired as Monumental's ideas man and musical director. Don is thrilled at the prospect of making it big in "talkies" and Kathy is soon recognized by the studio as a great singer and actress herself. While going over ideas until the wee hours, the three sing and tap their way through the show-stopping "Good Morning" number with many nods to the famous choreography performed in the 1952 film by Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds, right down to dancing over and around a couch with great jubilation.

And then, at the end of Act 1, is the show's piece de resistance - Wesley Alfvin's "Singin' in the Rain" dance number complete with real rain, totally soaking him but never stopping him for an instant. Through his total emotional immersion into the number, we see a man so happy in love that nothing can bother him. I just felt bad for the stage crew who had to spend the entire intermission mopping up the stage floor. But it was so worth it!

As Act 2 begins, the bigger problem is Lina, who will do anything to ensure she also makes the successful leap into talking pictures, despite her own vocal inabilities. And of course she vows to break up Don and Kathy. The studio needs to release Don and Lina's latest silent film "The Dueling Cavalier," but talkies are now the rage. Cosmo comes up with the idea to dub Lina's scenes with Kathy singing "Would You" while Lina mouths the words on screen. And when the movie becomes a big hit, how will Lina be able to keep her vocal shortcomings a secret from her fans?

This spectacular show is packed full of the charm, romance, comedy and tinsel town glamour of one the world's best loved movies. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN takes place at El Segundo Recreation Park Softball field, located on the corner of Eucalyptus Dr. and Grand Ave. in El Segundo. It's a shame you only have this weekend to see it on August 7, 8, 9, and 10. Tickets are available online at www.esbroadway.com and are good for any one night of the festival and cost $20 adults, $12 children. Gates open 6:00pm, Community Pre-Show at 7:00pm, and SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (with a cast of 25) starts at 7:20pm. Learn more at www.esbroadway.com.

Over 2,000 Southern California residents attend the festival each year. Guests bring their own blankets, chairs, and picnic dinners to enjoy the festivities at the park. Returning this year is Broadway In The Park's popular ticket giveaway program. Over 500 tickets are being donated to underprivileged children and families who, because of poverty or family circumstances, wouldn't otherwise be able to afford a night out at the theatre. Underwriting for this year's event is provided by Gensler.

BWW Reviews: Broadway In The Park Presents a Spectacular SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at its 5th Annual Summer Festival
Sam Cavanaugh (Cosmo), Savannah Ackerman (Kathy), Wesley Alfvin (Don)

BWW Reviews: Broadway In The Park Presents a Spectacular SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at its 5th Annual Summer Festival
Sam Cavanaugh (Cosmo), Savannah Ackerman (Kathy), Wesley Alfvin (Don)

BWW Reviews: Broadway In The Park Presents a Spectacular SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at its 5th Annual Summer Festival
Sam Cavanaugh (Cosmo), Savannah Ackerman (Kathy), Wesley Alfvin (Don)

BWW Reviews: Broadway In The Park Presents a Spectacular SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at its 5th Annual Summer Festival
Wesley Alfvin (Don) is singin' and dancin' in the rain!

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Shari Barrett Shari Barrett, a Los Angeles native, has been active in the theater world since the age of six - acting, singing, and dancing her way across the boards all over town. After teaching in local secondary schools, working in marketing for several studios, writing, directing, producing, and performing in productions for several non-profit theaters, Shari now dedicates her time and focuses her skills as an independent publicist to "get the word out" about smaller theaters throughout the Los Angeles area. As a founding member of the LA Stage Alliance Leadership Council Task Force, she and reps from theaters throughout the city work together to articulate a vision for the theatre community of Greater Los Angeles. Shari has received recognition from the City of Los Angeles for her dedication of heart and hand to the needs of friends, neighbors and fellow members of society for her devotion of service to the people of Los Angeles. Shari is honored to serve her hometown as a contributor to Broadway World.


 
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