This past Thursday evening brought Good Company Players’ newest production of their 2012 season; Singin’ In The Rain. It has been quite a few years since their last staging of this classic musical; so the faces are fresh and new for Fresno audiences to enjoy while still keeping true to the significance this show has for Good Company Players’ history. To be short, it’s a fan favorite! I came into this show having only seen clips from the movie, and having never seen it on stage. It was an exciting experience that I am sure everyone will and did enjoy!
Singin’ In The Rain is the classic story based off the original MGM film starring Donald O’Connor and Gene Kelly. It’s the 1920’s and Hollywood is taking a fast turn from silent films to talkies. This is received with mixed emotions from our different characters. Hunky leading man Don Lockwood is in good spirits about it since he has been speaking to audiences for most of his career. His leading lady, Lina Lamont; however, is in an entirely different boat. Her on-screen beauty does not match up with her less desirable squeaky pitched voice. So when Don enlists the aid of his newly found love-at-first sight actress, Kathy Seldon, Lamont does not take too kindly to their relationship. Lamont goes through much effort to keep Kathy behind the scenes as her off-screen voice double rather than help her boost her career, and love for Don. But Don’s partner in-crime Cosmo Brown helps him out in his pursuance of Kathy, demolition of Lina, and coming up with the next great cinematic ideas for the first talkie-musical, “The Dancing Cavalier”. With plenty of toe-tapping and iconic tunes dazzling this fun script, you will have quite an enjoyable evening at the theater.
Josh Montgomery, Elizabeth Fiester (directors) and Kaye Migaki (choreographer) have done a marvelous job staging this piece. The ensemble is utilized well, and effectively add interest to the scenes and numbers. Jacob Carillo (Tenor) and the female ensemble perform a charming “Beautiful Girls.” “You Stepped Out of a Dream,” is a smooth sailing number with elegance and humor making it a memorable number. The Act 2 monster tap dance, “Broadway Melody,” was a bit rough on the opening night showing; but still impressive in seeing a tight knit ensemble and Daniel Hernandez (Don) dancing a 7 1/2 minute tap number.
(Daniel Hernandez (Don), Paige Parker (Lina); Photo Credit: Good Company Players)
Steve Souza gives a memorable comic performance as the stressed out Dexter. Alyssa Gaynor (Zelda) is another featured standout with some great moments opposite Paige Parker (Lina Lamont). Parker gives the audience a great character performance as the obnoxiously air-headed actress. Parker’s intentionally off-key solo, “What’s Wrong With Me,” solidified her successful take on the Hollywood celebrity.
(L to R: Dominic Grijalva (Cosmo), Danielle Behrens (Kathy), Daniel Hernandez (Don); Photo Credit: John Walker, The Fresno Bee)
Then we have our three leading performers. Danielle Behrens (Kathy) gives an alluring triple-threat performance. Her tapping and vocal skills partnered with a bright acting job and presence makes the otherwise dull written role a highlight of the performance. Behrens is strong in her vocal turns of “All I Do is Dream of You”, and “Would You?” The love chemistry she has with Daniel Hernandez (Don) and friendly chemistry she has with Dominic Grijalva (Cosmo) is honest and endearing. Grijalva has the physical-comedy job as the fun-loving Cosmo, and shines well in the show. His slick delivery of the one-liners and appropriately animated physicality carries him strongly through each song and scene. “Make ‘Em Laugh,” was done with exuberance and infectious enthusiasm. Hernandez is a genuine leading man as he holds the show together with effortless vocal power and awesome tap dancing. “You Stepped Out of a Dream,” “You Were Meant For Me,” and the title song are top-notch numbers for Hernandez. Then, as if the three of these leads weren’t good enough on their own, they combine for some fantastic theatre. Hernandez and Grijalva stop the show with “Fit as a Fiddle,” and “Moses Supposes.” And of course, the ever loving iconic “Good Morning,” highlights the trio of leads fantastically.
Ginger Kay Lewis-Reed dresses the cast in gorgeous costumes that showed well in Evan Commins lighting. Like most opening nights, there were some rough transitions and technical issues, but nothing that outweighed what a fun show this musical is. With Singin In The Rain you are not going to get a deep piece of musical theatre with complicated plots and underlying character arcs. What you do have is a production team, cast, and crew who have made this classic a joyously delightful experience for the whole family. Tap on down to Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theatre and see this show before the rain leaves. Go see this show!