Screenplay by Betty Comden & Adolph Green
Songs by Nacio Herb Brown & Arthur Freed
Directed by Bill Jenkins
Music direction by Roberta Duchak & Ben Johnson
Choreographed by Amber Mak
At Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre
Dazzling score dancer energetically at the 1952 film comes to life
After the original lead Sean Palmer got injured, Tony Yazbeck stepped in to play Don Lockwood (the Gene Kelly role). Together with an all-star cast of local Chicago talents, director Bill Jenkins’ Singin’ In the Rain unfolds as a dazzling production. True to the film, the Drury Lane Production is glitzy, glorious, and glamorous featuring one of the most memorable scores including the title song, “Beautiful Girl, ” “You Were Meant For me,” and “Lucky Star.” The sets, lighting and costumes and video sequences all contributed to a first class production that rivals any Broadway production. There is, of course, the raining on stage title number that audiences enjoy complete with a splashing Don Lockwood.
But Singin’ In The Rain is a heartfelt musical that depends on the three leads. Tony Yazbeck dances and exudes enough charisma to make Don Lockwood a hero. Yazbeck sings and dances up a storm. Jenny Guse, as Kathy Seldon, was wonderful as the young ingenue forced to lip-sink for the shrill mouthed silent movie star Lina Lamont (the terrific turn by Melissa Van Der Schyff). Jenny Guse is beautiful, can sing and dance as she sparkles with Yazbeck.
However, it was the rubber-legged Matthew Crowle as Cosmo Brown (the Donald O’Connor role in the film) that was particularly effective. Crowle is quite funny as he choreographed his vaudeville dance duet “Fit as a Fiddle” with Yazbeck plus the zany and cleverly hilarious “Make ‘Em Laugh” as well as “Good Morning” with Guse and Yazbeck. This is as breakout role for the amazing Matthew Crowle.
Singin’ In The Rain has many wonderful moments such as the comic “Moses Supposes” with Crowle, Yazbeck and vocal teacher John Reeger. There is glamor in numbers like the Ziegfeld-styled “Beautiful Girl” sung by George Andrew Wolff. Don Forston and Renee Matthews together with Scott Calcagno gave yeomen turns as part of this amazing cast. The dancers were smooth while Ben Johnson’s orchestra gave the bouncy score a vigorous rendition.
There is humor, lovable characters, terrific dancing with fine vocals as one of the most beloved musical movies comes to life at Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre. The tight production values and the sheer energy of the cast captures us and keeps thrilling us throughout. Singin’ In The Rain is one of the best musicals produced in Chicago this year! Don’t miss it. With ticket prices from $35 to $46, you get a Broadway caliber show for less than half the price with free parking.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: November 30, 2012
For more info checkout the Singin’ In The Rain page at theatreinchicago.com
At Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre, Oakbrook Terrace, IL, call 630-530-0111, www.drurylaneoakbrook.com, tickets $35- $40 – $46, Wednesdays at 1:30 pm, Thursdays at 1:30 & 8 pm, Fridays at 8:30 pm, Saturdays at 5 & 8:30 pm, Sundays at 2 & 6 pm, running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes with intermission, through January 13, 2012