Singin’ in the Rain

April 1, 2011

Westchester Broadway Theatre

As I always say, WBT’s productions are always worth seeing.  Dinner and a show near home, with professional actors, crew, directors, staff and wait staff for this price cannot be beat.  Add to that the times the shows are truly outstanding and you have a whopper of a resource right in your backyard. 

Not that only Westchester residents patronize this theatre, the people at the next table were from Alpine, New Jersey, and there are no doubt patrons from far and wide that regularly visit this fine venue.

To the play at hand, the musical Singin’ in the Rain, I can’t imagine anyone mounting a better production unless the late Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor, and the just turned 79 year old Debbie Reynolds were to return to life and the stage respectively to reprise their roles.  One of the best WBT shows I have seen.  Don’t miss it.

The three principals were well up to their tasks and performed them beautifully. Jeremy Benton as Don Lockwood is almost on a par with Cody Williams as Cosmo Brown, which is high praise.  But as the show progressed I fancied I could actually see the wings on Williams’s feet.  I am sure Mr. Williams never had a dance lesson in his life.  He was born that way.  Whether it was tap or soft shoe or just moving gracefully across the stage, I could imagine him handling the best of the best as a partner.  Not to take anything away from the excellent dancing, singing and acting of Mr. Benton, but Cody Williams takes it to another level.

Shannon M. O’Bryan was fetching as Kathy Seldon, and the support cast was fine.  The on-stage rain was a great production touch and Mr. Benton made a point of splashing as much as he could on the audience.  I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t reach the third row.  Always fun to be involved.  A lady in the front row had an umbrella and she raised it to good advantage.

The story, such as it is, is good for a musical.  It has a light plot with the right ending.  No real evil, just vanity as the bad guy.  And vanity loses. 

Set on the cusp of silents and talkies, those with pretty faces but ugly voices were destined to change careers to the equivalent of flipping burgers.  By those I mean Lina Lamont, a pretty, but shrill star of the silent screen.  I actually held my hands over my ears when she spoke.   I have to wonder if Allie Schauer, the actress who played her, has a pleasant speaking voice.  That is how convincing she was as the vocally challenged Lina.

Great fun, great talent, great production.  See it.