BWW Reviews: Audiences Happy Again Just Dancing and SINGING IN THE RAIN
Yes, yes, yes. It's a talkie. It's a musical talkie. And it has plenty of tap dancing cavaliers (well, in a figurative sense). OK, so it's not Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds; no one can beat the pair that made the classic film so memorable. But Good Company Players' lovely recreation for the Roger Rockas Dinner Theatre stage has no trouble getting audiences in the mood for dancing and "Singin’ in the Rain."
With a few new songs added in and all the originals in place, the musical closely follows the plot of the movie. Silent film heartthrobs Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are caught in the crossfires of the industry's move to talking pictures. While Lockwood has all the makings of a musical star, his "dumb blonde" co-star has a high-pitched, whiney voice and comes with no coordination or singing talents. Her self-perception, of course, does not line up with reality, and when Don, best friend Cosmo, and girlfriend Kathy Selden come up with the perfect idea to save their bombed silent-turned-talkie film, Lina becomes determined to keep the spotlight.
Although the script suffers in translation -- the first act lasts a bit too long and the second act goes by extremely fast, while both acts lack a strong opening number to build excitement -- energetic actors and a story placed firmly in the hearts of many keep the show alive. The center set pieces seem pieced together, but they are framed by gorgeous designs evoking the era of "Hollywoodland" and the big movie studio lot (designed by David Pierce and featured by Evan Commins’ attractive lighting). And Kaye Migaki's extraordinary choreography led by actors Daniel Hernandez (Don) and Dominic Grijalva (Cosmo) is a constant highlight.
Hernandez and Grijalva are a riot in "Moses Supposes," and Grijalva does plenty to make audiences laugh in the physical farce "Make Them Laugh." The beautiful and innocent Danielle Behrens (Kathy) looks gorgeous in Ginger Kay Lewis-Reed’s costumes, as does Paige Parker. Parker stands out as the “awful” Lina Lamont and, out of the entire cast, comes the closest to matching her character’s movie counterpart while making the “love to hate her” Lina Lamont her own. Hernandez steps into Don’s charming overconfidence with ease, and he and Grijalva have wonderful chemistry and comedic timing together on stage.
Good Company Players does have a youth-driven cast, which consequently affects the quality of singing vocals throughout the show, but the all-around talent displayed in “Singin’ the Rain’s” energetic acting and dancing makes the classic musical worth revisiting. Not to mention it comes with a delicious dinner and a fabulous pre-show put on by the Good Company Players Junior Company.
SINGIN' IN THE RAIN
Good Company Players, Roger Rockas Dinner Theatre
Through November 11