Singin’ in the Rain

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I told you it was going to be good.  But even I didn’t know it’d be THIS good.

“Singin’ in the Rain” produced by UC-CCM, met all my expectations and more.  It had laughs, it had stunning sets, great technical effects, a surprising and effective film cameo, and unbelievably good dancing.

Sarah Bishop had everyone around me in stitches through the entire show.  Her take on Lina Lamont was precisely what it needed to be – a girl who believes all of her own hype, possessing no real insight about her cognitive and vocal limitations.  Her comic timing was very very good.

Matt Hill, one of CCM’s most versatile performers, made the most of his moments as Cosmo.  His big number, “Make Em Laugh,” was a show stopper.  The crowd went crazy for it and they should have.  Ever since I saw him as William Barfee in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” on the Showboat Majestic, I’ve been a fan.  He just continues to impress.

Katie Wesler can dance, dance, dance.  I loved her subtle approach to Kathy Selden’s reluctant love interest and something about her energy made the audience root for her.  This is a huge boon to any performer and I hope she can use that unique charisma to have a successful career.

The ensemble was superb, the orchestra was pitch perfect, and the rain sequence at the end of Act One was mesmerizing.  The technical elements were great and got a nice response from the crowd … but it was Max Clayton who really deserves all the praise.  If I could have given a standing ovation at the end of this number without freaking people out I would have.

I saw Max before the show started as I sipped my hot chocolate in the lobby.  He was walking past, in his stage makeup, headed for Starbucks and I looked up and said hello.  I’m sure he didn’t have a lot of time and he certainly didn’t need to walk over to where I was.  But he did. He shook my hand, asked how I’d been, and was so pleasant.  I’ve only spoken to him once –  after “Spring Awakening” – to let him know that I know how hard it is to play Melchior Gabor with the appropriate tone and sing those songs and that I thought he was marvelous.  I don’t know if remembered that or has just seen me around or if he’s just always nice to folks in the lobby, but everything I’ve heard about him from his peers appears to be true.  He is a wonderful human being and it’s so nice to see someone like him also have so much talent.  Good for him.  I hope he stays this nice when fame comes calling – because it most assuredly will.

Don Lockwood could be a boring part, really.  A lot of “leading man” roles are kind of mundane.  But Clayton has a wicked, sly sense of humor.  He has a charm that lights up any room he’s in.  And boy, can he ever dance.  I know he’s getting a lot of very positive feedback from this show and every word of it is well deserved.

I think tonight’s show is sold out, but they do offer a wait list.  And there’s a matinee tomorrow.  You need to see this show.  I’m going back tomorrow and I can’t wait to see the dance sequence in Act Two again.

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