BWW Review: SINGIN' IN THE RAIN Tap Happy Film Classic Delightfully Reimagined
Who isn't familiar with SINGIN' IN THE RAIN? The classic MGM film musical is arguably a perfect film musical, full of great songs, amazing dancing and memorable characters. Setting out to put this film on stage is a monumental task that requires a faithful enough recreation that it doesn't disappoint a legion of fans, yet has to be it's own original stage creation. Now playing on ZACH Theatre's Topfer Stage is a delightful version that manages to pay just the right amount of tribute while being thrillingly entertaining in its own right.
Under the direction of Abe Reybold, this production is a sheer joy to experience. Reybold has wisely decided to use a bare minimum of set pieces so that the cinematic flow required happens effortlessly. Take note, this is how you do scene changes. Set against Michelle Ney's great moving back lit panels, iconic pieces of set come in and out effortlessly, beautifully enhanced by Matthew Webb's lighting. Brandon McWilliams costumes are mostly period perfect.
The star of this production is the choreography of Dominique Kelley which manages to perfectly evoke the original dancing while creating some new that keeps it fresh and exciting. The new stage version has all the songs you remember and love while adding two new ones: "You Stepped Out of a Dream" an act one song for Don Lockwood (Luke Hawkins) and in act two, "What's Wrong With Me?", a new song for Lina Lamont, which Keri Safran knocks out of the park with hilarious panache.
The highlights of the show of course belong to Luke Hawkins as Don Lockwood. His performance of the title song, replete with rainfall, to end act one is a show stopper as is the rethought "The Broadway Ballet" which only retains the iconic dance with the siren in the nightclub. Another great performance comes from Blake Spellacy as Cosmo Brown, doing a great job with "Make 'Em Laugh". And, as Lina Lamont, Keri Safran is a comic delight. I was only disappointed with Sasha Hutchings as Kathy Selden. She certainly can sing and dance the part but was missing the charm and innocence the role requires, coming off a little flat and nonchalant.
Allen Robertson has done a great job with the music and a special notice must be given to Rodd Simonsen for the well executed film segments of the film they need to save from Lina's voice.
Make sure to put SINGIN' IN THE RAIN on your calendar for a great evening of classic musical theatre.
SINGIN' IN THE RAIN Screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Songs by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed, Based on the Classic Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film by special arrangement with Warner Bros. Theatrical Ventures, Inc.
Running Time: Two Hours and Forty Minutes, including intermission
SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, produced by Zach Theatre (1510 Toomey Road, Austin, TX 78704).
Wednesdays-Sundays, September 27 - October 29, 2017
Tickets start at $25 and are available online at zachtheatre.org, by phone at 512-476-0541 x1, or in person at the ZACH Theatre Box Office, in the Topfer Theatre, 202 South Lamar Boulevard. (corner of Riverside Drive and South Lamar) Monday through Saturday, 12-5p.m. ZACH Theatre is wheelchair accessible. Discounts are available for groups of 8 or more. Student Rush Tickets are $18 one hour before show time (with valid ID).
Photo Credit: Kirk Tuck