`Singin' in the Rain' Shifts Nicely from Movie Classic to Muny Stage

By Joe Pollack Of the Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), July 19, 1995 | Go to article overview

`Singin' in the Rain' Shifts Nicely from Movie Classic to Muny Stage


Joe Pollack Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


They're singing and dancing at The Muny this week - on the stage where the rain is real and in the aisles where an ambitious lemonade salesman writes his own lyrics - which is just what should be happening on summer nights in Forest Park.

And when the heat relaxes a little, as it did Monday, the sky's the limit.

With a line of Canada geese joining the chorus for one number, and Lara Teeter, Randy Rogel and Christina Saffran dancing up a storm, "Singin' in the Rain" opened in toe-tapping style before a crowd of 9,764, providing a fine evening for those who love song and dance, and not much for those who expect plays to have plots.

The salesman's pitch, at intermission, began, "I'm selling lemonade, just selling lemonade. . . . " It didn't have much plot either, but it sold lemonade.

The Muny also turned film producer, creating some funny snippets of movies to add humor and smooth the creaking plot a little. Some badly out-of-sync sequences, with a rackety sound track, made me realize that when I was listening to those scratchy Muny productions of 20 years ago, the organization was doing research and has finally found a use for the tapes.

The story takes place in the late 1920s, when sound was arriving in Hollywood, displacing silent films, marking a new era for many and a career end for many others. Lina Lamont (Nancy Ringham) is one of the latter, and Ringham shows why, early and often, and staying just shy of going over the top, especially with some chewing-gum business.

Teeter is her co-star; Rogel is Teeter's pal.

Rogel is wonderful in the role originated by Donald O'Connor in the 1952 film.

Rogel is a multitalented writer and composer, in addition to being a West Point alumnus who gives new meaning to "Taps," and some of his business with hats, dummies and other props, including a brick wall, is glorious entertainment in the classic "Make 'em Laugh. …

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