BWW Reviews: The Gateway's SINGIN' IN THE RAIN
Singin' In The Rain, the Tony nominated musical based on the famous MGM film, is certainly a must see among theatre attendees. With a screenplay by Betty Comden & Adolph Green and music by Nacio Herb Brown & Arthur Reed, Gateway's fantastic incarnation runs through August 10th and will surely have you leaving the theatre with a smile.
Playing at their Patchogue location in the midst of their 64th season, the wonderful Rick Conant directed cast is headed up by Jeremy Benton (42nd Street, Anything Goes National Tour), Shannon O'Bryan (White Christmas, 42nd Street), John Scacchetti (42nd Street and Gypsy), and Gretchen Bieber (Hairspray). The large cast is truly remarkable. One person in the audience even said to me she saw a lot of the emotion and mannerisms from the movie well emulated on Gateway stage.
The story follows Don Lockwood (Mr. Benton), a silent film star who barely tolerates his annoying and meddlesome leading lady, Lina Lamont (Ms. Bieber). They are actually not a couple - strictly colleagues - but Lina is convinced that their screen romance is real. These two were wonderfully cast for this production. Mr. Benton definitely had a great 1930's tone to his voice and look. After all, his was Gene Kelly's role in the classic movie. Additionally, his fantastic rendition of the iconic "Singin' In The Rain" at the end of Act 1, complete with sheets of rain coming down from the rafters, practically got a standing ovation.
As for Ms. Bieber, her performance brought roars of laughter from the audience. You see, while gorgeous for the big screen, Lina's speaking voice is less than desirable, making her, shall we say, perfect for silent films. Ms., Bieber spectacularly delivered with an over the top shrill of a voice.
As the first ever talking picture proves to be a hit, the head of their studio, R. F. Simpson, portrayed by Gateway vet Steve Brady, decides to convert the new Lockwood and Lamont film into "a talkie". The production is beset with problems with the worst being Lina's comically grating voice. It is CosMo Brown, portrayed by Mr. Scacchetti, who comes up with the idea to dub Lina's voice - both singing and speaking. Mr. Scacchetti was wonderful as Cosmo who is Don's childhood friend and the studio's head musician. He and Mr. Benton did some incredible tap numbers including "Moses" in Act One and "Broadway Melody" in Act Two.
Don falls for aspiring actress Kathy Selden (Ms. O'Bryan) who has a spectacular voice and agrees to provide the dubbed voice for Lina without her knowing. When Lina found out, though, she flew into a rage and did everything possible to sabotage Selden and her budding romance with Don. Ms. O'Bryan was wonderful as Kathy. Kind of "the girl next door", an audience favorite was her beautiful rendition of "You Are My Lucky Star" in addition to "Good Morning" with Mr. Benton and Mr. Scacchetti.
In addition to the divine cast and fun score - musical direction superbly done by Jeff Hoffman with a fantastic orchestra - the costumes, done by Trevor Bowen, were stunning as well. Yellow colored rain coats and umbrellas adorned the cast for the big final number. Also flapper style dresses and coat tails were of abundance.
Indeed, you will be happily singin' in any type of weather once you've seen this production. A wonderful cast, a fun score, and the beautiful Patchogue Theatre prove a classic never goes out of style.
The Gateway's Singin' In The Rain is presented at the Patchogue theatre on Main Street in Patchogue through August 10th. Screenplay by Betty Comden & Adolph Green, Music by Nacio Herb Brown & Arthur Reed, Directed by Rick Conant, Musical Direction by Jeff Hoffman, Lighting Design by Marcia Madeira, Choreography by Kelli Barclay, Stage Management by James Danford, Set Design by Jeff Moderger, Costume Design Trevor Bowen. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call 631-286-1133 or visit www.pacsc.org.