SINGIN’ IN THE RAINScreenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Songs by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed
Based on the classic Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film
By special arrangement with Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Inc.
Stolen Shakespeare Guild
Director – Nathan Dibben
Music Director – Lauren Morgan
Choreographer – Jessica Taylor
Costume Designer – Lauren Morgan
Stage Manager – Jennifer Stewart
Set Designer – Nathan Dibben and Lauren Morgan
Props Designer – Jennifer Stewart and Jean Jeske
Light Designer – Nikki DeShea Smith
Don Lockwood – Jared Kyle
Cosmo Brown – Tyler Jeffrey Adams
Kathy Selden – Ally Van Deuren
Lina Lamont – Emmie Kivell
R. F. Simpson – Kelley Garland
Olga Mara/Dance “Broadway Melody” Ballet – Alexandra Cassens
Zelda Zanders – Shannon Garcia
Dora Bailey – Jill Deramus
Roscoe Dexter – Quinn Angell
Voice Teacher/Policeman – Delmar H. Dolbier
Rod/Villain – Kyle Sapienza
1st Asst. Director – Jamall Houston
Hairdresser/Girl – Riley Jo Payne
Wardrobe Mistress/Mary Margaret – Cory Carter
Miss Dinsmore/Phillips – Kristal Seid
Tenor/Sound Engineer – Jonathan Speegle
Dream of You Girl – Emily Rahm
Dream of You Girl – Jessica Peterson
Dream of You Girl – Kyra McGuirk
Dream of You Girl – Mattie Davis
Reviewed Performance: 8/13/2016
Reviewed by Jeremy William Osborne, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
The plot tells the tale of silent film star Don Lockwood who worked his way up in show business with his best friend Cosmo Brown. Don’s leading lady, Lina Lamont, is dense and vapid with an annoying voice. She believes the studio’s publicity about her and Lockwood’s romantic relationship no matter how many times Don tries to protest. Soon Don happens to meet Kathy Selden and becomes smitten with her. To Lina’s chagrin, Lockwood and Brown begin helping Kathy’s acting career, leading to the main action of the play taking off.
The set design by Nathan Dibben and Lauren Morgan, is SSG’s production is effective for establishing many different locations. Four large wagons comprise the majority of the set and rotate to reveal different settings. Also the configuration of the wagons helps create the various scenes. This also provides plenty of open space for dancing. However it leaves many scenes feeling empty and the space underutilized. I also question the use of a cosmetic door that is never used. This is particularly bothersome when Cosmo Brown walks through an invisible wall into a room when a door is clearly present upstage.
Jessica Taylor ‘s choreography is fun and entertaining. The tap routines in the eponymous “Singin’ in the Rain” have some good combinations but other dances, like “Good Morning,” come off stale and not original. Some dance steps were downright treacherous as there were several moments a dancer would slide and nearly fall. Jessica Taylor’s choreography truly comes to life in the modern and ballet sections of “Broadway Melody.” The duet dances with Jared Kyle and Alexandra Cassens are captivating.
Lauren Morgan’s costume design goes from the conservative dress of the theater audience to the cute, pink, short skirts for the performers of “All I Do Is Dream of You” to the elaborate film costumes worn by Lina Lamont, Morgan’s costuming is great and period appropriate. There are missteps, however. The hats worn by a couple ensemble women come too far down and cast unfortunate shadows across their faces.
The lighting design by Nikki DeShea Smith is simple with a few defined areas used to separate scenes. However this could have been used more effectively to limit R. F. Simpson’s office to a more defined area. The coloring is very subtle, to the point of being nearly unnoticeable. However, a nice twinkling effect is used to give the impression of rain during “Singin’ in the Rain.” The timing of the transition lights is slightly too slow for their purpose. Often the cues come too late, leaving actors frozen in place for a second or two, and the fade takes too long, elongating the scene changes. This often jars the audience out of the performance.
Sound design for the new “talking pictures” is fun and highlights the comedic aspect of Lina Lamont’s inability to grasp the function of a microphone. There is also a fine rain sound effect at the end of “Good Morning” that should have carried over into “Singin’ in the Rain.” Including a rain sound in the titular song would add more depth to the scene and would not be difficult to add.
Jared Kyle as Don Lockwood is charming. He dances well and sings impeccably. The chemistry between him and Ally Van Douren is fantastic.
Kyle’s on-stage counter-part, Ally Van Douren as Kathy Selden, has the finest voice of the whole cast. Her renditions of “Lucky Star” and “Kathy’s Would You” leave the audience enchanted.
Tyler Jeffrey Adams is a whirlwind of activity as Cosmo Brown, Don Lockwood’s closest friend. He’s funny in a broad, clown-like way but, in an attempt to demonstrate how zany is the character, his behavior is frenetic beyond belief.
Lina Lamont is, of course, the most memorable character of the show and she is played wonderfully by Emmie Kivell. Kivell’s nasal pitch character voice is expertly sustained through “What’s Wrong with Me.”
The whole cast is filled with incredible talent. Voices that blend beautifully, thanks to the work of Lauren Morgan, dances that delight, and comedic instincts that pepper the show with laughs. Kyle Sapienza as the movie villains steals the projected scenes of “The Royal Rascal,” while Quinn Angell as the film director has a clever exchange with Tyler Jeffrey Adams and Kelley Garland, while trying to name the re-imagined film. As the sound engineer, Jonathan Speegle draws laughs by simply getting lost in Ally Van Douren’s voice during “Kathy’s Would You.”
Singin’ in the Rain from Stolen Shakespeare Guild has technical glitches, like lights fading to black unexpectedly at the reviewed performance. However, the performances are excellent. I recommend seeing the show.
Stolen Shakespeare Guild
1300 Gendy St.
Ft. Worth, TX 76107
Runs through August 28th
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm. Saturday and Sunday matinées at 2:00pm
Second Weekend Tickets: $20 for Adults, Seniors and Students $18, and Matinée performances $16
Third Weekend Tickets: $22 for Adults, Seniors and Students $20, and Matinée $17
For tickets and information, go to stolenshakespeareguild.org or call Theatre Mania at 866-811-4111.