BWW Review: SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at Des Moines Playhouse: A Show to Catch When the Current Storm Lifts!
As we head out of the winter season and into spring, there is one thing we know is coming, rain. This last weekend Des Moines Playhouse opened their production of "Singin' In The Rain." As their production opened this weekend, there was a giant storm cloud in the distance called virus that caused the remaining performances of this production to be postponed. As I write this review, I hope it becomes a preview of an upcoming production.
"Singin in the Rain" features a screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green with songs by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed. The musical is based on the classic Metro-Goldwyn Meyer film of the same name, which tells the story of Hollywood transitioning from silent films to talking pictures. The fictitious Monumental Pictures decides to make their latest silent film into a speaking feature. The only problem is, they are beaten to the first speaking picture by a rival studio. The other issue they have is one of their stars has a not so desirable voice. How do they find this out? And how will they fix it? That you will have to find out when this production hopefully opens again.
Part of the fun with seeing the show is the Playhouse use of a live orchestra for this show. These musicians, under the direction of Brenton M. Brown, were a joy to hear. It helped set up the classic tone that the audience is supposed to feel from the show. The orchestra was one ways that the Playhouse treated the audience to the setting of the show. The classic feel to this show is partly thanks to Erin T Horst's direction and vision for what this show could be which can be felt from the orchestra to the technical elements, to the actors on stage.
One of the fun technical elements is Teena Sauvola's beautiful set. The set is relatively stationary but has walls and screens that fly in through the show. The pieces brought on for each scene transform the stage as we go from the red carpet to the film set. By having the set be mostly stationary, it allows the Horst's direction and choreography to deliver the classic moments that everyone loves from the film.
The Playhouse has put a terrific cast together with an ensemble that features people who have been seen as leads previously, as well as features 12 actors new to the Playhouse stage. This cast also features four actors familiar to Playhouse audience members in the leads. Part of the fun is this show is seeing actors taking on roles different then they've played in the past. One great example of this is Maggie Schmitt in the part of Lina Lamont. While the characters may want to forget Lina Lamont, you won't want to miss Schmitt's take on the character. With the nasally voice she brings to the role, Schmitt disappears into the character.Another excellent performance in the show comes from Stephanie Schneider in the role of Kathy Selden. Schneider dances around the stage with the elegance and grace you expect to see in the classic movie musicals. James Kolnik takes on the larger than life Cosmo Brown to the audience delight. His "Make Em Laugh" had the audience in stitches, and leads the fantastic "Broadway Melody." This song features some of Angela Lampe's beautiful costumes, which are featured many times through the show. Leading the show is Des Moines theatre scene staple, Charlie Reese. Reese brings his charisma to Don Lockwood that has the audience want to jump on the stage and dance with him in the rain.
While we may not currently know when "Singin In The Rain" may open again due to virus, you can look forward to seeing this production. Des Moines Playhouse shared in their "Friday's on 42nd Street" that the set is still up. To find out more about this production, or when performances start again, visit https://www.dmplayhouse.com/events/singin-in-the-rain/
Review was written by DC Felton
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