BWW Review: SINGING IN THE RAIN at The Players Centre For Performing Arts
Who doesn't appreciate the beloved film Singing in the Rain? Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor sang and danced their way into our hearts in this 1952 movie classic about the pandemonium that plagued the movie industry in the late 1920s when motion pictures morphed from silence to full sound. In the film, Monumental Pictures found themselves with a popular silent film star who possessed an awful speaking and singing voice and would not transition well in to the new world of movies with sound. What to do, what to do. If you have seen the film, you know how the winsome story evolves.
Just as silent film stars may not convert well into movies with sound, many movies don't thrust well into live theatre, especially when audiences come with the expectation of seeing people "singing and dancing in the rain" - with real rain.
Well, bring a towel with you to The Players Centre for Performing Arts production of Singing in the Rain. And a few tissues too. This was not just a transition - it was a triumphant transition that paid homage in a reverent way to the original film.
In the opening scene, a Hollywood movie premiere, announcer/gossip columnist Dora Bailey (Peg Harvey,) reports on the who's who at the premiere. The first things that grab you are the sets, Michael Newton-Brown, and costumes, Tim Beltley. They are as big and bold as you would have hoped, with an art deco flare. Patrick Bedell's opulent lighting emboldened so many classic scenes throughout the production.
Heading up the mulit-talented cast is Logan Junkins as Don Lookwood, Vera Samuels as Lina Lamont, Jessie Tasetano as Kathy Seldon and Brian Finnerty as Cosmo Brown. The ambitious dance numbers gave Mr. Junkin a run for his money and he nailed each one. Gene Kelly came to life during a thoroughly enchanting reproduction of Singing in the Rain, rainfall, water splashes and all. Ms Samuels cleverly made Lina Lamont the voice you loved to hate with a sensuous Marilyn Monroe-like persona. Kathy Seldon 's vocals were delightfully fined tuned. She radiated in Good Morning. Mr. Finnerty all but stole the show with his great sense of comedic timing, pratfalls, dexterity and charming demeanor. Director Kathy Junkins ran a tight ship and everyone made their marks in this constantly moving production of glitz and glamor and just plain fun.
Singing in the Rain runs through February 4, 2018. For more information on The Players Centre for the Performing Arts visit www.theplayers.org.