Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
Singin' in the Rain
Set in 1929, Singin' In The Rain is the story of Don Lockwood (Curt Dale Clark), who is one of the greatest silent film stars in Hollywood, and long time best friend Cosmo Brown (Brian Shepard). Don's off screen relationship with his annoying leading lady Lina Lamont (Emily Stockdale) is far from romantic, despite her thoughts to the contrary. He crosses paths with a wholesome, aspiring actress named Kathy Seldon (Lauren Blackman) with whom he is smitten. Unfortunately, Kathy also crosses paths with a vindictive Lina Lamont who tries to squash her career. After another studio releases the first talking picture, The Jazz Singer, the studio head R. F. Simpson (David Girolmo) decides to convert the latest Lockwood and Lamont film, The Dueling Cavalier, into a talkie. Though Don is up to the demands of an all talking, all singing, all dancing film, Lina has a speaking voice like nails on a chalkboard. Don and Cosmo, who works as a musician employed by the studio, try to save the film, as well as Don and Kathy's budding romance, despite problematic technical issues with the film and Lina's temperamental nature.
It would be hard for anyone to compete with the memorable MGM film version starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds. It is packed with iconic images like a joyfully rain-drenched Gene Kelly dancing round a lamppost in "Singin' in the Rain," Donald O'Connor dancing up the wall in "Make 'Em Laugh," and the trio of Kelly, O'Connor and Reynolds flipping over the top of a couch as they dance their way through "Good Mornin'." This Maltz Jupiter Theatre production excels in providing excellent production value that is sure to please if not surprise most audience members. Beautiful costuming (particularly gorgeous on Stockdale as Lamont), lighting, choreography, special effects, and scenic design fill the stage. A live 9-piece orchestra plays the score to the show superbly. The "Broadway Melody" sequence is admirably staged to replicate the best moments from the film, complete with a leggy Alison Manning dancing the Lady in Green role originated by Cyd Charisse. This song is the highlight of the production, though one would expect it to be the title song.
A rubber-faced Brian Shepard delivers as the funny and exceedingly nimble best friend Cosmo Brown. Lauren Blackman is warm as Kathy Seldon, and sings and dances the role nicely. Emily Stockdale is a picture perfect Lina, but tends to keep her speaking voice too high too long, missing some comic moments along the way. Curt Dale Clark is a bit of a disappointment as Don Lockwood. He sings, dances and acts solidly but is lacking in the charm one would hope for in the rolealmost always seeming disingenuous. He also has the habit of an actor who has been doing a show too long of anticipating his reactions to other people by a fraction of a second. There is also a lack of chemistry with his leading lady. His best, most likable moment in the show is "Broadway Melody" which seems to showcase his talents and personality perfectly.
Singin' in the Rain provides some nice cameo and supporting role opportunities. Charis Leos is enjoyable as Dora Bailey, and quite funny as Miss Dinsmore. Andrew Kindig consistently garners laughs as Roscoe Dexter. A handsome Nathan Meyer reveals a truly beautiful singing voice on "Beautiful Girl" as the Production Tenor. The songs you know well are all here, and one can even get splashed with water as it really does rain on stage during the title song. Still, despite all the glitz, this pleasant production somehow misses on being as exhilarating as one would hope.
Singin' In The Rainwill be appearing at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre through January 27, 2013. The Maltz Jupiter Theatre is a 550-seat, nonprofit, community-based Equity regional theatre belonging to the League of Resident Theatres, and the Florida Professional Theatre Association. This theatre employees both local and non-local Equity and non-union cast and crew members. The theatre is located at 1001 Indiantown Rd. (just off of A1A) in Jupiter, Florida. For tickets and complete information on the theatre's offerings, contact them by phone at 561/ 575-2223 or 800/ 445-1666, and online at www.jupitertheatre.org.
*Designates a member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
^Designates a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, an independent national labor union.
+Designates member of the United Scenic Artists, a labor union and professional association of Designers, Artists and Craftspeople.
Photography: Alicia Donelan