Theatre Mirror Reviews-"Singin' in The Rain"

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entire contents copyright 2014 by Tony Annicone

"Singin' in The Rain"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The third show of Reagle Music Theatre's 46th summer season is "Singin' in the Rain". It is the 1986 stage version of the 1952 movie starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds. This musical is set in 1927 Hollywood and brings back the glitz and glamour of the days of yore. It is a light hearted romantic comedy about the early days of sound film, when many a studio found itself scrambling to salvage the career of its chipmunk-voiced silent film stars. It tells the story of two of these silent movie stars facing extinction when the ''talkies'' come on the scene. Which of them will survive in the age of sound? Director Kirby Ward recreates the bygone days of the 1920's while musical director Dan Rodriguez leads the cast and the orchestra in the melodic songs of the era with choreography by veteran Radio City Rockette Eileen Grace who creates magical moments with her inventive dances especially the fantastic tap numbers. Since this show about the old black and white films of the 1920's, a word of praise to Kirby for creating the hilarious film sequences that leave the audience in stitches. Kudos to the creative staff for presenting a high quality Broadway style right here in Massachusetts, winning them a tremendous standing ovation. Bravo!

The leading man, Don Lockwood is splendidly played by Sean Quinn. His dancing is terrific especially in "Singin' in the Rain" number where he bounds about the stage energetically while splashing in puddles and in "Gotta Dance" which is part of the talking movie where the chorus members display their dancing prowess with Sean. They are both long dance segments which he handles with ease. Sean also sings "You Were Meant for Me" and "You Are My Lucky Star" to his love interest in the show, Kathy Seldon excellently played by Jillian Mariner Gordon. She plays the spunky ingenue who isn't afraid to tell Don that his acting is awful and steals his heart while doing so. Jillian displays her lovely soprano voice in "Dreaming of You" number with the girls, "Would You?", "You Are My Lucky Star" and in "Good Morning" which is one of the best dance numbers in the show with Sean, Jillian and Edward Tolve as Cosmo flipping over a couch at the end of it.

One of the biggest scene stealers in this show is Edward as Cosmo. He is hilarious from the first moment he appears onstage. Edward is a triple threat performer who dances up a storm with Sean in "Fit as a Fiddle" while clad in ugly plaid suits and in "Moses Supposes" while tap dancing on top of a table which stops the show as does his solo number "Make 'Em Laugh" where he does pratfall after pratfall while running into walls, over the sofa and into boards and into a brick wall too. This song displays slapstick at its best. Edward has many one liners and makes them all hit pay dirt. Another comic performer is gorgeous statuesque Noreen Hughes as Lina Lamont, the high pitched nasal talentless silent film star. Her funny Betty Boop type voice is hilarious as is the microphone scene where she keeps turning her head at the wrong time is priceless. Her playing with her pearls which creates loud noise on the soundtrack is a hoot, too. Noreen's show stopping number occurs in the second act and is called "What's Wrong With Me?" where Lina blames everyone else for her problems. She truly creates a dumb blonde who keeps you laughing at her crazy antics all night long.

Other funny performances are given by Daren Kelly as the exasperated director, Roscoe Dexter who Lina drives crazy, ( I also saw Dan on Broadway as Cliff in "Deathtrap" and in Boston in "Woman of the Year") R. Glen Michell as the befuddled producer who has to turn his silent film studio into a talkie one quickly, Beth Martin Pierce as Dora Bailey, and Christopher King as the superb tenor soloist in "Beautiful Girls" and the dynamic dancer in the long dance segment in "Gotta Dance", the girl in the green dress, Katelynn Prominski. Her dancing prowess is impressive especially the ballet in this number. At the close of the show, the whole cast appears in raincoats with umbrellas to sing and dance to "Singin" in the Rain". Production manager Olivia Gemelli keeps things running smoothly all night long. So for an outstanding production of this classic musical treat, be sure to catch "Singin' in the Rain" at Reagle Music Theatre before the show dances out of town.

"Singin' in The Rain" (7 - 17 August)
@ 617 Lexington Avenue, WALTHAM MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide