Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Maltz Jupiter Theatre: Singin' In The Rain (2 reviews)

Maltz Jupiter Theater opened its production of Singin' In The Rain on January 8, 2013.
This high-energy romantic comedy overflows with splashy song-and-dance numbers, including glorious songs such as "Good Morning," "Make 'Em Laugh" and the show-stopping title number, "Singin' In the Rain." The golden age of movie musicals comes alive as we follow silent movie actor Don Lockwood's journey into the talkies of the late 1920s. Complete with glittery showgirls, comical characters and an onstage rainstorm, this delightful extravaganza will leave you happy again!
Marc Robin directed a cast that featured Curt Dale Clark, Brian Shepard, Emily Stockdale and Lauren Blackman.

Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
Assuredly, the Maltz’s Singin’ In the Rain is a pleasant, skillfully executed, beautifully produced evening of cotton candy entertainment. No one for several hundred miles around mounts such gem-polished, well-heeled works of musical theater.

The asterisk is that this Singin’ In The Rain has no soul. It’s a funny, diverting, two-dimensional cartoon whereas the quintessential Hollywood musical stirred in emotions along with the yuks and terpsichorean feats. For all its artifice of people breaking into song and dance, the 1952 flick had that faux film reality that enabled you to root for the lovers. That’s missing in this stage version...
The score gives the silver-throated Blackman the chance to send her voice soaring through numbers like “”Would You” and “You Are My Lucky Star.” It also gives Clark and Shepard a chance to hoof their way through some impressively athletic numbers like “Moses Supposes.” All three shine as a unit in the glorious dance trio “Good Morning,” perhaps the best number in the show.

Director Marc Robin moves the production briskly and everything runs as precise as the proverbial Swiss watch; it should since this edition ran last month at the Fulton Theatre of Pennsylvania (a co-producer that jointly mounted The Sound of Music with the Maltz). But Robin also gets the blame for the slightly flat, unconvincing aura.  Not a single character in the cast seems to have a genuine chemistry with anyone else.
Stockdale, bless her, is a stitch with those kewpie doll looks belying a conniving personality, although that glass-cutting voice gets a little old the fifth time she screeches, “What am I? Dumb?”
The titular rain effect is, indeed, a pretty impressive downpour to soak dancin’ Don as he twirls his soggy open umbrella in the audience’s faces. If you’re sitting in the first three rows and the ushers offer you the poncho, take it.
Hap Erstein reviewed for the Palm Beach ArtsPaper:
During the past year, the Maltz Jupiter Theatre has set the bar quite high for itself, with innovative new productions of such classic musicals as Hello, Dolly! and The Music Man. As a result, it is hard to be satisfied with a proficient, but unexceptional rendering of an undistinguished show like Singin’ in the Rain.
It is not that you will have a bad time at Singin’ in the Rain, for director-choreographer Marc Robin delivers a lavish ― considering the title tune sequence, we might as well call it “splashy” ― production, with a talented cast that largely hails from his Fulton Theatre in Lancaster, Pa. But with so little divergence from the movie, it begs comparison, unfairly though that may be, and nothing on the Maltz stage is an improvement over, or even lives up to, the movie.
Clark carries the show, singing and dancing, uh, up a storm, though he makes Lockwood too much of a cartoon. Brian Shepard steals the spotlight as Don’s sidekick Cosmo, nimbly recreating the solo schtick of Make ’em Laugh. And willowy Lauren Blackman completes the triangle well as spunky up-and-comer Kathy.
Singin' In The Rain plays at Maltz Jupiter Theater through January 27, 2013.

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