Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Singin' in Rain' Makes a Splash on Stage

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Singin' in Rain' Makes a Splash on Stage

Article excerpt

Singin' in the Rain, which was 10th on last summer's American Film Institute list of the 100 best American movies ever, is often cited as the best musical Hollywood ever made.

Unlike most famous musicals -- but like The Wizard of Oz, the other musical in AFI's top 10 -- Singin' in the Rain did not begin life as a stage musical but was first done as a movie.

But it works perfectly well on stage, as the current production at the Alhambra Dinner Theatre again demonstrates. The Alhambra's show, like many stage productions of Singin' in the Rain, even includes an indoor rainstorm for the title song.

Still, as enjoyable as the number is with its artificial rainstorm, no stage show could ever fully reproduce the exhilarating choreography of that sequence in which Gene Kelly is singin', and dancin', in the rain.

The biggest problem with the Alhambra production of Singin' in the Rain, is that its star, like that dance sequence, is a pale imitation of the original. Shawn Sears is a good dancer, a decent singer and an adequate actor, but he exudes none of the athleticism or the brisk charm that Kelly brought to the movie role of silent movie star Don Lockwood.

A bland Don Lockwood leaves a bit of a vacuum at the core of this zestfully comic tale of a Hollywood studio and its stars making the difficult transition from silent movies to sound.

But show biz, like nature, abhors a vacuum, which means that Dennis Morgan, playing Cosmo Brown, the role originated by Donald O'Connor, gets an opportunity to steal the show. He takes advantage, a whirling dervish of athletic dancing and brisk comic zest.

The other two major roles are solidly performed by Gayle Holsman and Laura T. McElroy. Holsman makes a pretty and spirited Kathy Selden, the aspiring actress who steals Don Lockwood's heart. McElroy easily masters the nasal whine of Lina Lamont, Lockwood's self-centered co-star. …

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