BWW Review: The Classic SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at The Engeman
Singin' In The Rain, the classic Tony nominated musical based on the wildly famous MGM film, is certainly a must see among theatre attendees. With a Screenplay by Betty Comden & Adolph Greene and Music by Naico Herb Brown & Arthur Freedes, the incarnation at Northport's John W. Engeman Theatre will surely have you leaving the theatre with a smile. Running through July 8th, closing out the Engeman's dazzling 11th season, the delightful incarnation is strongly directed by Engeman vet Drew Humphrey.
The story, set in the 1920's, follows silent film star Don Lockwood, charmingly portrayed by Danny Gardner, who barely tolerates his annoying and meddlesome "leading lady", Lina Lamont, hilariously portrayed by Emily Stockdale. Laughter abounds throughout the show and we also see a budding relationship between Don and up-and-coming actress Kathy Selden, portrayed beautifully by Tessa Grady.
Mr. Gardner honors the Gene Kelly role well while truly making it his own. A great voice and classic look make him a natural for the part. Additionally, his fantastic rendition of the iconic "Singin' In The Rain", complete with sheets of rain coming down from the rafters, practically receives a standing ovation from the enthusiastic, sold out audience. As for Ms. Stockdale, her performance brings roars of laughter. While gorgeous for the big screen, Lina Lamont's speaking - and signing - voice is less than desirable making her, shall we say, perfect for silent films.
And Ms. Grady is a fine Kathy. A quiet confidence and sass serves the role well. Indeed an audience favorite is her exquisite rendition of "You Are My Lucky Star" in addition to the well-known "Good Morning" with Mr. Gardner and and Brian Shepard who portrays Cosmo, Don's best friend. Mr. Shepard is excellent as Cosmo who also serves as the fictional movie studio's head musician. He and Mr. Gardner did some incredible tap numbers including "Moses" in Act One and "Broadway Melody" in Act Two.
In addition to the outstanding cast, the musical direction is superbly done by Jonathan Brenner leading a fantastic live orchestra with Kurt Alger's gorgeous costumes enhancing the visually stunning production. Yellow colored rain coats and umbrellas adorned the cast for the big final number and it is apparent that everyone in the company is enjoying Mr. Humphrey's energetic choreography. As you can see, everyone on the cast and creative team is truly top-notch.
Indeed, you will be happily singin' in any type of weather once you've seen this production. A wonderful cast, gripping story, and Long Island's fabulous John W. Engeman Theatre prove a classic never goes out of style.
Screenplay by Betty Comden & Adolph Green, Score by by Nacio Herb Brown & Arthur Reed, Directed & Choreographed by Drew Humphrey (Engeman Theater: Mary Poppins, Thoroughly Modern Millie, A Chorus Line, Gypsy, Oklahoma!, White Christmas), Musical Direction by Jonathan Brenner (Engeman Theater: Annie; Music Director: The Runaway Clone (NYMF '15), Shelter (NYMF '12); Composer: The Runaway Clone, Sapien-Sapien-Sapien; Pianist: Broadway Sings Concert Series; Music Director (Academic): Broadway Artists Alliance, ApplauseNY), Associate Director/Choreographer is Bryan Thomas Hunt (Stage credits: Gypsy - Engeman Theater, Irving Berlin's White Christmas - Tour, Billy Elliot - Tour), Scenic Design by David Arsenault, Costume & Wig Design by Kurt Alger, Lighting Design by Zach Blane, Sound Design by Laura Shubert, Casting by Gayle Seay & Scott Wojcik & Holly Buczek of WOJCIK/SEAY CASTING, Prop Design by Jamila Gordon, Stage Management by Suzanne Apicella & Leila Scandar (Assistant Stage Manager)
Starring Danny Gardner as Don Lockwood (Broadway: Lucky in Dames at Sea; New York: Radio City Music Hall's NY Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes, City Center Encores!' Lady, Be Good!; Regional: Bobby Child in Crazy For You at Washingtin D.C.'s Signature Theatre, Don Lockwood in Singin' in the Rain at Chicago's Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, Frump in Between the Lines at Kansas City Rep), Tessa Grady as Kathy Selden (Broadway: Dames at Sea, Cinderella, Annie; Off/Pre-Broadway: The Honeymooners, Carefree: Dancing with Fred and Ginger, First Wives Club, Gotta Get a Girl, Chasing Rainbows), Brian Shepard as Cosmo Brown (Broadway: Something Rotten, Spamalot, Young Frankenstein, Follies, Guys & Dolls, Annie Get Your Gun, Peter Pan; Regional: Mary Poppins, How to Succeed, White Christmas, On the Town, Singin' in the Rain) and Emily Stockdale as Lina Lamont (Singin' in the Rain at North Shore Music Theatre and Maltz Jupiter Theater, Born Yesterday and Nunsense at Northern Stage, Company at Geva Theater, More Than All the World at Theater for the New City) with Danielle Aliotta, Emily Blake Anderson, Bryan Thomas Hunt, Leer Leary, Lily Lewis, Claire Logan, Andrew Metzgar, Corinne Munsch, Daniel Plimpton, Ben Prayz, Emilie Renier, Michael Santora, Britte Steele, Peter Surace and Michael J. Verre