Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Singin' in The Rain"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2006 by Tony Annicone

"Singin' in The Rain"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

North Shore Music Theatre's current show is "Singin' in the Rain", the 1986 stage version of the 1952 Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds film. Set in 1927 Hollywood, the show is a light hearted romantic comedy about the early days of sound film, when many a movie studio found itself scrambling to salvage the career of its chipmunk-voiced silent picture star. Director/choreographer Richard Stafford captures the nostalgic flair of the 1920's in his dance numbers and musical director Richard Hip-Flores leads the orchestra and cast in the melodic songs of yesteryear. However since it is a musical about the old silent black and white films, some of the best moments of this show are the silent films created for this show which are hysterically funny and capture the essence of the silent films for current day audiences very successfully.

The multitude of gorgeous 1920's costumes are by Randall Klein while the lush scenic design is by Howard C. Jones. The glorious silent movie segments which are shown on three screens around the theatre are outstanding especially the talkie one with the high pitched singing. The leading man, Don Lockwood is played by Matt Loehr. His rendition of the title song while dancing in the theatre with rain pouring on him, is very well done. Matt also solos on "You Were Meant for Me" and "Gotta Dance". (The dancing girl in this segment played by Sae La Chin is the most outstanding dancer in the show and this segment will take your breath away with her expertise in it.) Don's love interest in this show, Kathy Seldon is played by 20 year old Kelly Felthous. She plays the spunky ingenue who steals Don's heart. Kelly gets to show off her beautiful voice in "You Are My Lucky Star", "Would You" and in "Good Morning", the best dance number in the show which she does with Matt and Mark Ledbetter who plays Cosmo. Mark who has red hair gets some laughs as the comic member of this trio. He gets to sing "Make 'Em Laugh" and does duets with Matt in "Fit as a Fiddle" where they are clad in ugly plaid suits and in "Moses Supposes" where they tap dance on top of a desk. Mark's funniest scenes are in the second act and he earns the laughs with his comic timing. The biggest scene stealer in this show is Beth Beyer as Lina Lamont, the Brooklyn, blonde Betty Boop whose high pitched nasal voice is perfection as she utters every single one of her lines. One of the funniest scenes is the microphone scene where she turns her head at the wrong times and eventually falls off a bench. Beth's hilarious show stopping number is "What's Wrong with Me". Her deliberate off key voice, facial expressions and sexual innuendos are stupendous. Brava on a job very well done.

Other comic turns are given by David Coffee as the hard-ass director, Roscoe Dexter and Martin Van Treuren as the befuddled producer, R. F. Simpson. Another strong vocalist in the show is Michael Brian Dunn as the tenor who sings "Beautiful Girls".The closing number of the show has the entire cast singing in the rain with their yellow slickers on. A rousing finish to the evening's entertainment. So for a trip back to the 1920's, be sure to catch the stage version of "Singin' in the Rain" and yes, it does really rain onstage.

"Singin' in The Rain" (5 - 30 July)
NORTH SHORE MUSIC THEATRE
62 Dunham Road, BEVERLY MA
1 (978) 232-7200

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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