Wednesday, January 11, 2017

REVIEW: ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ is a Delight

John David Scott, Mallory King and Gabriel Corey sparkle in Singin' in the Rain.
(Photo by Mark Kitaoka /Village Theatre)

THEATRE

Village Theatre’s latest production of Singin’ in the Rain is pure joy from the beginning note to the final bow. That is, if you are fan of the original movie, which I am. The crew captures the essence of the movie that Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor made so famous including the number where the main character literally dances in the rain comes alive on stage. I don’t think I’ve ever attended an indoor musical with a splash zone.

Often Singin’ in the Rain is referred to as “the greatest musical ever made” and I have to say, the stage version is one of the best I’ve ever seen as well. The reason for this is that the production is so well-rounded. It features a great storyline, likable characters, snappy songs, talented choreography and a good balance of music and dialogue. Sure, it’s corny in places and might not have the charm if it didn’t have the movie to compare it to or if it were written today, but that is beside the point. Just sit back and enjoy the show.

The iconic scene played by John David Scott.
 (Photo: Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre)
It’s 1927 and Don Lockwood (John David Scott) and Lina Lamont (Jessica Skerritt) have just finished their silent movie, The Royal Rascal for Monumental Pictures. The two are the Hollywood “It” couple even though Lockwood insists that they are just friends and professional business partners, but Lina is truly smitten with her co-star no matter what he says. Don’s lifelong best friend, Cosmo Brown (Gabriel Corey), writes all the music for the silent films. Despite their roles, Don is more of an introvert, but Cosmo enjoys the limelight. On the way to a celebration party for the new picture, Don runs into Kathy Selden (Mallory King) who both excites and annoys Don at the same time. She’s not impressed with his star power nor does she think of him as a real actor.

Meanwhile, a rival studio has released the first talking picture, The Jazz Singer and it is quickly decided that the next Lockwood and Lamont picture will be a “talky.” The problem is, that while Lina looks gorgeous on screen, she has a voice that resembles nails on a chalkboard. Oh, hey, it looks like Kathy is looking for a job and she has a nice voice ….

Of course, I have the advantage of seeing the production in Everett a month or so after the show has been performed in Issaquah, but everyone in the cast of Singin’ in the Rain does a phenomenal job with their roles. With that said, I feel that two need special mentions. First, I have seen Gabriel Corey in numerous productions over the years and he is one of my favorites because of his incredible facial expressions. However, he is usually cast in the chorus and is rarely given a lead role. In fact, I think this show might be the first time I ever heard him sing a solo. The role of Cosmo is a perfect fit for him and his solo of “Make ‘Em Laugh” is a platform to show off his many talents.

Ty Willis and Jessica Skerritt (Photo by Mark Kitaoka/Village Theatre)
I also want to give special attention to Kate E. Cook who filled in for Skerritt during the performance I attended. This was especially difficult since part of the show is told with video footage that features Skerritt as Lina Lamont. Cook was able to contort her voice to sound exactly like Skerritt and I suspect that some people in the audience were not even aware that the part was being played by a different actress. Skerritt is a tough act to follow, so kudos to Cook!

A special mention should also be made to Kai Johnson and Bryan Kinder who play “Young Don” and “Young Cosmo” during the beginning of the show. They are only on stage for short period, but these two are definitely talented young men who we will no doubt be seeing more of in the future.

The only negative comment I have to make about the show had nothing to do with the show itself but with the two women sitting behind me who apparently thought that their conversation was more important than what was happening on the stage. How rude if is was for the actors to sing so loudly that these poor women had to speak up louder so that they could hear each other.


Singin' in the Rain continues playing in Everett until January 29, 2017. Click here for more information about the show and discount tickets.