Singin' in the Rain
published: Fri, 6-May-2005 | updated: Wed, 4-Jan-2017
R.F. Simpson in Singin' in the Rain, songs by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed, screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, for the Fine Arts Center Repertory Company at the Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs. Directed by Mark Hennessy. April/May 2005.
My first role in a musical for a long while. And I didn't have to sing or dance! Doubleplusgood.
Singin' is a funny old musical. For a start, it's just like the movie: if you've seen that, there's no real point in coming to see the show. And of course the only reason to come see the show is because you know the movie. There's a lot of film in the stage production: there's the end of the silent movie, the showing of the very bad first sound movie, and the end of the musical movie. We also had newsreels of the actors arriving for the premiere of the silent movie. And then there's the normal song-and-dance as well.
So of course all of these individual "movies" had to be shot. I well remember the newsreel shoot: it was cold when we started out in a February late afternoon sun, and it just got colder as the sun went down. Until it hit freezing point and blew through it. We were shooting on the main steps of the FAC for about 4 hours at least.
Funny bit: I was in the very first scene of Act II with Brantley and Brian. The curtain was supposed to come up and we were frozen in mid-argument, as it were, and when the lights were full we'd start off the scene . Well, it got kind of boring, waiting there after being given "places", so we decided to play rock-paper-scissors just before we had to freeze and see if the audience noticed the positions of our hands. (We even tried "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil", but it was too obvious.)
The rain was never lit properly in my view, although the sequence and the song always went very well. It did make a complete mess of the basement under the stage though. Oh boy.
After the final performance, we made it rain one more time for the cast and crew before it was all dismantled. Very interesting wet T-shirt effects, I must say.
Overall, it was a good show to be in; as a cast we all got on pretty well although there were some problem areas (over which I will draw a discreet veil). The tap numbers were fabulous, including the scene in the voice coach's office.
|Girl on Cosmo's Lap
|1st Soundstage Hand
|2nd Soundstage Hand
|3rd Soundstage Hand
|4th Soundstage Hand
|Beautiful Girl Singer
|Male Diction Coach
|1st Sound Engineer
|2nd Sound Engineer
|Broadway Melody Dancer
|Mary Ripper Baker
Review from the Gazette
Singin' in the Rain
‘Singin’ a great show, but why bother?
by Mark Arnest
MAY 06, 2005:
There’s good and bad news about the Fine Arts Center’s splashy production of “Singin’ in the Rain.”
The good news: The production is one of the rep’s best yet, with fine singing, spectacular dancing and a host of effects. Film sequences are cleverly integrated into the live action; the rain fell on schedule.
The bad news: The production is good enough to see what a creaky stage vehicle “Singin’ in the Rain” is. At its best, this 1985 musical adaptation of the classic 1952 movie has you thinking, “Gee, that was just like the movie” — but it never establishes its own convincing reason for existing.
The story is about Hollywood in 1927, the dawn of the sound era. Don and Lina are a famous on-screen couple; she hopes they will become an offscreen couple, but he’s smitten with Kathy, a young actress.
The unexpected success of “The Jazz Singer” forces the studio to re-shoot Don and Lina’s latest movie as a talkie — but it turns out Lina can’t talk, at least not in a way an audience would want to hear.
Jack Ward, in his graceful athleticism, is appropriately reminiscent of Kelly. Ward also has a pleasant, light singing voice, and his gentle, amiable Don is more likeable than Kelly’s brash incarnation.
Ward also has great chemistry with Brian McClure, who plays Don’s longtime pal Cosmo. McClure has a delightful presence and great comedic talent and is a first-rate dancer.
As Kathy, Kathleen Malloy brings an unforced earnestness to the role, along with a bright, confident voice.
Sara Borgeson shows excellent comic skills as Lina and keeps the character a bit sympathetic without downplaying Lina’s shallow greediness.
On opening night, director Mark Hennessy and the cast still hadn’t quite found the piece’s rhythm; “Singin’ in the Rain” was still a collection of scenes, some of which worked better than others.
One fixable problem is the film clips; most are too long.
Heather Clark’s costumes beautifully capture the spirit of the Jazz Age, but don’t always flatter their wearers.
There are no such reservations about the Roberta Jacyshyn-led band. Propelled by Richard Clark’s classy drum work, it’s hot enough to turn the many changes of Nancy Hankin’s elaborate set into pleasant interludes instead of interruptions.
(c) The Gazette 2005