Candlelight Dinner Playhouses revisits a fan favorite
Candlelight Dinner Playhouse delights audiences with a bright and colorful tapdance back to the roaring ’20s, bringing Singin’ in the Rain back to their stage once again. After polling audiences about which shows they would like to see return, Singin’ in the Rain had an overwhelming response, with 83% of those polled naming it. Directed and choreographed by Kate Vallee, this production brings big ensemble numbers set in flashy and unique settings.
Taking place in the 1920s on the cusp of silent pictures becoming talking pictures, the audience gets a taste of what it was like in those oh-so-glittery and extravagant times (I was often reminded of the indulgence and lavishness of The Great Gatsby). When famous screen-acting duo Don Lockwood (Matthew Dailey) and Lina Lamont (Alisha Winter Hayes) get word of a rival production company producing talking pictures, they must keep up with the changing times. And that means moving from the success of their silent pictures to creating “talkies.” There’s only one problem: Someone really should not have a speaking role. No wants to hear that voice.
A solution is dreamed up, (a la Milli Vanilli), and the show indeed does go on. The production features nifty special effects unlike any I’ve ever seen on Candlelight’s stage. A big screen helps audience members get a feel (and a laugh) for the silent films of the time, and real pouring rain gives front row viewers a splash. It all makes this production feels fresh, innovative and new.
While a bit slow in the beginning and somewhat confusing if you don’t already know the storyline, the second act makes up for it. An ensemble act tapdancing and singing “Broadway Melody” in multicolored flapper style dresses for the women and three-piece suits for the men was the big feel I was missing in the first act. Add bright city lights and a backdrop of famous theaters and one gets a sense for what this play was meant to be. I’m a sucker for tapdancing, and when it’s with the entire cast on stage tap, tap, tapping away, you feel the excitement along with hearing it.
I especially enjoyed being able to see the orchestra, which was situated above the stage rather than in the pit. They played the simple and timeless music of Singin’ in the Rain such as the title song and “Good Morning,” sung by Kathy Seldon (Rachel Turner), Don (Dailey), and Cosmo Brown (Stephen Turner). It was this song that reminded me of where I was and what I’d come to see: partners in crime, hopeful for the new day, and that hope shined through all of their voices.
Whether you come because you voted to see Singin’ in the Rain on the Candlelight’s stage once again, or whether it is your first time, you are sure to be dazzled by this classic production. Besides the lovely glimpse of the 1920s and all the glamour that it held, you’ll get a big show with tunes you’ll recognize and choreography that’ll make you wonder: “How’d they do that?”