“Singin’ in the Rain” is my all-time favorite musical and my favorite film. There’s a memorable script, catchy songs and so many classic dance numbers. So, perhaps more than most, I walked into the Lockport Palace Theater for their production with lofty expectations. Fortunately, I was very pleased with the production.
…a memorable production of a classic musical.
Christopher Parada directs this lovely production following the rise of talking pictures in 1927 Hollywood. The show starts at a silent movie premiere featuring the hottest stars of the day, Don Lockwood (Bobby Cooke) and Lina Lamont (Kelli Pyle), as they open one film and begin work on the next up against the rising popularity of the first talking picture, “The Jazz Singer.” On the way to the premiere party, Don meets aspiring stage actress Kathy Selden (Katie Merrill), who throws Don for a loop by telling him he really doesn’t act and is more of a shadow on film.
Cooke tackles the role made popular by Gene Kelly with great ease. He’s a thankfully phenomenal dancer, especially shining in the end of Act I with “Moses Supposes” and “Signin in the Rain.” (Yes – it rains on stage) Despite an injury, he delivers a great performance and majorly impressed the audience.
Merrill is just perfect as Don’s love interest, Kathy Selden. Her voice is so sweet and she has a beautiful classic sound, especially in “Would You.” She has great chemistry with Cooke and is truly a delight to watch.
Leading the more comedic roles in the show were Pyle as Lamont and Ricky Needham as musician and Don’s best friend, Cosmo Brown. Pyle is unstoppably funny with a horrifically annoying voice, which makes for an excellent portrayal of Lamont. Needham delivers a very silly “Make Em Laugh” and makes for a great dance partner for Cooke in “Moses Supposes.”
The Palace Theater is a perfect venue for this classic musical. A beautiful large, old theater, it has all the room for big production numbers and showmanship. Some of the set seemed rather bare considering the space, but the colorful and creative lighting design made up for it.
Rheanna Gallego’s choreography bore a little too much resemblance to the film for my liking, but her personal touches were enjoyable. Cooke, Merrill and Needham especially nail it in “Good Morning.”