Gotta dance! 'Singin' in the Rain' at MSMT

Posted Thursday, August 9, 2018 in Culture

Gotta dance! 'Singin' in the Rain' at MSMT

Nicolas Dromard (Don), Brian Shepard (Cosmo Brown). Make Em Laugh. MSMT Singing in the Rain. Photo by Roger S. Duncan.

by Gina Hamilton

Maine State Music Theatre closed with "Singing in the Rain", one of the best movie musicals of all time.

It is nominally about the transition from silent film to talking pictures, and how some actors and actresses were unable to make the change. But for the most part, it's about dance. Huge, wild dance numbers from the beginning to end, with enough costume changes to outfit a small town for a year, and bright, brassy music that kept everyone's toes tapping.

Those who have read my reviews in the past have noted that I'm not a big fan of musicals as a vehicle to get as many of a particular popular artist's songs into two hours as possible.

However, give me a similar number of tap numbers in the same two hours and you can color me there. Numerous times.

Nicolas Dromard plays Don Lockwood, a vaudvillian who, along with best buddy Cosmo Brown (Brian Shepard), somehow make the move from the small stage to the silver screen -- well, Don does. Cosmo plays piano for the silent films. Don's screen partner is Lina (Kim Sava), a bubble-headed blonde who isn't going to survive the move to talkies, because her voice is ... well, you just have to hear it.

Lina fancies herself in love with Don, a position fostered by their studio, Monumental Studios, for the press. But Don has fallen for a pretty brunette, Kathy (Kate Fahrner), and Lina is trying to sabotage her career.

After a disastrous showing of The Dueling Caveliers, the studio's first talkie, Don, Cosmo, and Kathy try to fix it so that it will be a hit. Kathy agrees to dub Lina's lines and songs, which is done without her knowledge. It works -- until Lina tries to blackmail Kathy into doing her lines perpetually.

Of course, everything works out in the end. In the meantime, there are some wonderful silent and talking "films", a scene of dancing in the real rain with Don Lockwood, a multitude of dance numbers, and a few bats flying around to make everything just a little more interesting.

MSMT is at its best when it focuses on what people love about musical theater -- song and dance -- and 'Singin' in the Rain' is a perfect example. Go and see it before it's gone! Visit msmt.org for tickets.

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