'Singin' in the Rain' opens tomorrow
Lakewood Theatre Company will close out its 66th season with the musical "Singin' in the Rain" opening April 26 and running through June 9. With endearing dance numbers, hilarious situations, snappy dialogue and a downpour of unforgettable songs, it is the perfect entertainment for any fan of the golden age of movie musicals.
Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; two Wednesday performances at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. and select Sunday evening performances at 7 p.m. All performances take place on the Headlee Main Stage at Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State St., Lake Oswego. Tickets are $39 for adults, $37 for seniors. Discounts are available for students and groups. Call the box office at 503-635-3901 or order online at lakewood-center.org.
The story follows Don Lockwood (John David Scott), who is at the height of his career as a silent film star, having starred in several successful movies with the beautiful, but shallow and vain Lina Lamont (Stephanie Heuston). Don can barely tolerate Lina, even though their studio, Monumental Pictures, has set them up in the eyes of the press as an "it" couple.
But as Don continues his picture career, Hollywood is moving fast into the era of "talking pictures" — movies with sound instead of subtitles. To keep up, Monumental Pictures and its head, R.F. Simpson (Mike Dederian) decide to adapt the latest Lockwood-Lamont vehicle into a musical. Unfortunately for Lina, her screechy voice threatens her move into the talkies — until Don and his tap dancing friend Cosmo Brown (Dennis Corwin) convince Kathy Selden (Catherine Olson), as aspiring actress with the voice of an angel, to dub over her voice.
Choreographer Laura Hiszcsmsynkyj says most people know "Singin' in the Rain" from the movie version and Gene Kelly's iconic dance scene around the lamp post.
"The challenge is to pay homage to the original choreography while working with the stage we have," she said. "We want to give the audience what they want (in terms of seeing those iconic moves) and use our space to the best advantage."
Both John David Scott and Dennis Corwin grew up watching the movie starring Gene Kelly.
"I remember watching Gene Kelly float across the floor and thought it would be so great to dance like that," Scott said. "He was so masculine and attractive. But it was Gregory Hines who got me involved in tap."
Scott is making his LTC debut in "Singin' in the Rain" but it will be the third time he has stepped into the tap shoes of Don Lockwood. He has performed the role with companies in Couer d'Alene, Idaho and Issaquah, Washington. He has been tap dancing for 27 years and teaches jazz and tap throughout the Pacific Northwest.
"It was so exciting to be asked to do this," said Scott, who lives in Seattle.
Corwin says his role as Lockwood's funny sidekick Cosmo Brown is "a dream role," which was on his bucket list.
"This character gets to do a lot," he said.
Corwin has a special tie to "Singin' in the Rain." When his grandfather was serving in WWII a USO production of the musical starring Donald O'Connor came to the base, and O'Connor needed a uniform for the show. Corwin's grandfather's was a perfect fit.
"He never did get the uniform back," Corwin said.
Corwin has performed at Lakewood in 1990 in "Chicago" and most recently as Roger Sherman in "1776."Catherine Olson plays Kathy Selden, the role Debbie Reynolds played in the original movie.
"I find it delicious," she says of playing Reynolds' breakout role. "I believe I have more in common with Debbie Reynolds. She came to the movie as a gymnast, not as a dancer. I had to learn tap. It has been a joy but also very challenging. Movement really brings it together — it's a joy and the crew has been kind (as she learns movements). It is so fun! I love it, it's so great."
Native Lake Oswegan Stephanie Heuston (Lina Lamont) is thrilled to return to Lakewood after performing with Tokyo Disney and living in New York studying opera.
The cast also features Lalayla Gunn as Miss Phoebe Dinsmore, Richard Cohn-Lee as Roscoe Dexter, Terra Hill as Dora Bailey, Danny Captuo as the Male Diction Coach, Tara Beanblossom as the Lady in Waiting and Wardrobe Mistress, and Robert Altieri, Lorna Baxter, Caroline D'Ambrosi, John Gaunt, Jon Gennari, Jorie Jones, Jared Lingle, Crystal Munoz, Grace Thompson, Maria Tucker and Jackson Wells in the ensemble.
LTC's production of "Singin' in the Rain" is directed by Ron Daum, musical direction is by Beth Noelle. The producer is Steve Knox.