SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at Olney Theatre Center is Toe Tapping Terrific!
Olney Artistic Director Jason Loewith in the program stated, "Maybe you're revisiting this classic for the umpteenth time. Maybe you've come to introduce a child or grandchild to some golden-age magic." Well Jason, that's exactly what we did. We took our eight year-old grandson Vivien who really enjoyed it...especially "Make 'Em Laugh"
I mention this to try to get theater-goers to bring the kids and introduce them to some of the best tap dancing they will ever see.
You may familiar with the 1952 film which starred Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds. It later became adapted for the stage in 1983 in London and in 1985 on Broadway. The duo of Betty Comden and Adolph Green wrote the book and added some songs. Nacio Herb Brown did the music and Arthur Freed the lyrics.
When you enter the theater you notice on stage the movie set for Monumental Pictures. This is the late 1920's, the silent film era (explain that to the kids) and centers on the transition to "talkies". Playing the Hitchcock-like Director is the always terrific Chris Genebach, fresh from his wonderful role in the Olney production of THE ROYALE.
Playing the three leads are Rhett Guter as Don Lockwood and his partner in crime Jacob Scott Tischler as Cosmo Brown and Amanda Castro as Kathy Selden. The three of them are just plain spectacular and dance up a storm. Guter is simply amazing in his show stopping number "Singin' in the Rain" and he truly gets drenched and splashes his way to tumultuous applause. Those in the first two rows should bring rain gear.
Tischler making his OTC debut brings down the house with his "Make 'Em Laugh". It's one thing to see pratfalls on film but quite another to see them live.
Playing the ditzy blonde with a voice like listening to chalk on a blackboard is Farrell Parker. Her success as a silent film star soon comes to an end with the advent of "talkies".
The huge ensemble is just plain terrific and they shine with amazing tap dancing under the superb choreography of Grady McLeod Bowman.
Pulling this all together is Director Marcos Santana who did the memorable IN THE HEIGHTS at Olney. Santana is a talented director and it is great to see him return to OTC.
Daniel Conway (Set Designer) has done a fabulous job (especially the rain), Andrew F. Griffin did the great Lighting Design, Rosemary Pardee the clever costumes, and Roc Lee the Sound Design.
Look for a nice video of the superb 10-piece orchestra under the baton of Angie Benson after the show, a nice touch. I wish more theaters did this especially since on most shows they are hidden.
Do not miss this amazing musical.
Here is an amazing coincidence. Had dinner prior to the show at the Olney Ale House and saw theater critic Robert Aubrey Davis. Davis is the host of WETA's "Around Town". He said to me "I'll see you at the theater where you may see me on stage." Well, sure enough, there is a short film in the show, the "first talkie", with Davis speaking into the camera. (He is not credited in the program.) Then the next morning, I listened to Davis as he hosted his classical music program (every Saturday) on Sirius/XM radio. My grandson could not believe it.
There is a free event with the cast at the Olney Library, 3500 Olney Laytonsville Road on Saturday, December 14 at 11 a.m.
On Friday, December 27 from 4 to 5 p.m. you can attend "Behind-The-Scenes: MAKE IT RAIN!" You can watch how the magic happens on stage and get an up-close look at the set, props, and costumes during an onstage tour. You will see HOW it rains. Cost is $10.
SINGIN' IN THE RAIN continues until January 5, 2020. For tickets, call 301-924-3400. See the informative context guide in the program by Dramaturg Sarah Kiker and visit olneytheatre.org/blog learn more about the show.
Also don't miss A CHRISTMAS CAROL in the Mulitz-Gudelsky Lab adapted and performed by Paul Morella which runs until December 29.
Next up at Olney is MISS YOU LIKE HELL, a DC Area premiere running January 29 to March 1, 2020.
THIS AND THAT
"Great Performances" on PBS will present Broadway's Best during November. On Nov. 8, RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN'S THE KING AND I features the Lincoln Center revival with Kelli O'Hara and Ken Watanabe.
The play RED starring Alfred Molina airs Nov. 15.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING airs Nov 22.
KINKY BOOTS airs Nov. 29.
The film "Tootsie" airs on WETA on Nov. 23 at 10 p.m.
Broadway performances on NBC's Thanksgiving Day Parade include: TINA: THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL, HADESTOWN, BEETLEJUICE,, and AIN'T TOO PROUD - THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS. Solo performers will include Billy Porter, Idina Menzel, and Lea Michele.
For Hal Prince fans, head to a new exhibit at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts the new free exhibition "In the Company of Harold Prince" on display until March 31, 2020.
For musicals, head to Arena Stage for NEWSIES, MY FAIR LADY at the Kennedy Center and NEXT TO NORMAL. GUYS AND DOLLS at the Ford's Theatre, and ALADDIN at the Hippodrome.
There is a program in New York called "Broadway Under the Stars" which features free Broadway performances at Columbus Circle at 5 p.m. for the following Mondays:
Nov. 25 - DEAR EVAN HANSEN and FROZEN
Dec. 2 - BEETLEJUICE, TOOTSIE, and MEAN GIRLS
Dec. 9 - PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and WICKED
Recently saw the documentary "Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles". I highly recommend it. The film explores FIDDLER'S creative roots in early 1960's New York. You will also visit the original Anatekva in Ukraine and see the Shalom Aleichems statue in Kiev where he is from. There are interviews with Stephen Sondheim and Lin-Manuel Miranda and watch Miranda sing "L'Chaim" from his wedding celebration. I loved it so much I bought it. You can too.
Any plans for New Year's Eve? You my want to stay home for "Live From Lincoln Center "New York Philharmonic New Year's Eve 2019: Sondheim Celebration" where the composer takes center stage with Tony Award winner Katrina Lenk. There will be selections from A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, ASSASSINS, COMPANY, INTO THE WOODS, SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, and SWEENEY TODD.
And circle May 16, 2020 when the OTC Gala welcomes Tony Award winner Patina Miller (for PIPPIN) and star of CBS' "Madam Secretary" in concert.