“Welcome to Katz Reviews. This is Ed Katz of Katnip Marketing- marketing consultant by day; theater critic by night- bringing my weekly review segment, Katz Reviews, here for you on WICC 600.
Sometimes you have to listen to “the buzz.” The buzz is the insider industry chatter. And my Connecticut friends who know theater were buzzing about ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ at Summer Theatre of New Canaan, saying, “Ed, you’ve GOT to see this show!”
I have to admit it wasn’t even on my radar. But, when I found out it starred Jodi Stevens- an accomplished actress I had seen in other productions- I decided to check it out.
Good thing I did- as the buzz was right!
The story is set in the Hollywood of the 1920’s as “talkies” are about to revolutionize the film industry- and silent film star Lina (LEE-nuh) Lamont (played by Jodi Stevens) has three big problems: first, she loves her co-star, Don Lockwood (charmingly played by Matthew Tiberi)- but he doesn’t love her. Second, the talkies are coming but she sounds like Adelaide from ‘Guys & Dolls’- basically like fingernails on a chalkboard. Third, the studio is making a musical- and she can’t sing anything on key.
The fun story is basically a great excuse for song and dance- mostly dance. And it works exceedingly well at showcasing the talented hoofers on the stage.
The four lead actors- Matthew Tiberi, Annabelle Fox, David Rossetti and Jodi Stevens- make a terrific combination with Annabelle Fox playing an aspiring actress (and Don Lockwood’s actual love interest) and David Rosetti playing his friend and sidekick and providing energy, expert rubber-legged dancing as well as comic relief. Not just the leads, the full cast is solid, too. As is the 10-piece orchestra.
Directed by Melody Meitrott Libonati, ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ is the summer’s surprise sensation!
You probably know the Gene Kelly movie from 1952 and, of course, his famous dance scene in the rain. That number, rain and all, is here, too- and, in the Gene Kelly role, Tiberi is terrific!
I confess to loving great dancing- particularly tap dancing, which is an almost lost art on Broadway these days- and the choreography by Doug Shankman is a joy to behold as the large cast does a beautiful job with the many dance numbers.
Sure, the script has its corny moments- and several of the gags come with mothballs still on them- but the cast has so much fun with the whole show that the audience loves it, too.
I give ‘Singing’ in the Rain’ 4-1/2 stars out of 5. Definitely a show you don’t want to miss! But hurry- the run ends July 30th and is almost sold out. For tickets or more information go to Summer Theatre of New Canaan’s website- it’s their initials: S-T-O-N-C dot org.
Catch my reviews right here this time each week and on my Facebook page and website, Katz Reviews dot com, where you will find all my WICC 600 reviews.
This is Ed Katz talking theater for WICC 600!”