Singin’ in the Rain

Based on the MGM filmsingin' in the rain at stage door theatre, florida

Screenplay and book adaptation by Betty Comden and Adolph Green

Music by Nacio Herb Brown

Lyrics by Arthur Freed

Directed by Dan Kelly

Move over, Gene Kelly

Remember that unforgettable scene from the 1952 movie, Singin’ in the Rain where Gene Kelly sings his way through a downpour. He twirls his black umbrella, scampers from sidewalk to curb to roadway, and gleefully splashes through puddles.

Who would believe that this particular, joyous scene could come to life so vividly on a relatively small stage, complete with rain, umbrella, puddles and joy and sung with superb aplomb by Vince Wingerter as Don Lockwood in the Kelly role?

While this number is the showstopper concluding Act I, it was only one of the many triumphant moments in this delightful stage adaptation that quite faithfully follows the original film.

To recap the story, the time is prior to the historic moment when talking pictures replaced silent films.  Glamorous movie star Lena Lamont (Katie Amadeo) who has a raucous voice and no singing ability is slated to star in a major film opposite leading man Lockwood. Previews show that the result will be disastrous. Enter highly talented but unknown Kathy Seldon (Jennifer Weingarten in the role originated by Debbie Reynolds), to save the movie by providing her glorious voice in dubbing Lamont’s lines.

Lockwood and Selden provide the love interest, and, yes, the plot line is predictable – as is true of most musicals. What enhances this particular tale are all the splendid songs, the spectacular tap dancing, and the highly talented cast. Memorable numbers  include “All I Do is Dream of You,” “Good Morning,” “Broadway Melody,” “You Stepped Out of a Dream”” and “You Are My Lucky Star.”

Wingerter is charming and charismatic as handsome matinee idol Lockwood. Amadeo is wonderfully strident and brittle as the scorned diva, and Weingarten is adorable and winsome as the hopeful young actress. But as skilled as are these three, Tyler Fish nearly steals the show with his athletic tap dancing and comic cavorting as Lockwood’s sidekick Cosmo Brown in the Donald O’Conner role.

While contemporary critics didn’t do justice to the original film, it is now described as one of the best musicals ever made, topping the American Film Industry’s 100 Year of Musicals list and ranking number 5 in the updated list of greatest American films of 2007.  This production by Stage Door Theater does justice to this honor.

Highly Recommended

Beverly Friend

At the Stage Door Theatre, 8036 W Sample Rd, Coral Springs, Florida. Call 954-344-7765, www.stagedoortheatre.com Tickets $38-42 Wednesdays through Sundays 2 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays 8 p.m., Sundays 7 p.m. running time is 2 hours with a 15-minute intermission, through March 28.