SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
15/04/2015 - 26/04/2015
Civic Theatre, cnr of Queen Street & Wellesley Street West, Auckland
01/05/2015 - 24/05/2015
A STORM IS BREWING!
A typhoon of colour and creativity are set to sweep through New Zealand this week as scores of dancers hit the streets in Auckland and Wellington to celebrate the imminent arrival of the West End stage spectacular SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN.
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN is being presented in Wellington and Aucklnd by the producers of Jersey Boys, The Sound of Music and Annie.
This critically acclaimed production from London’s West End opens at the St James Theatre in Wellington on 15 April and will play for a strictly limited season before moving to The Civic in Auckland where it will open on 1 May.
Making a splash from the moment it premiered, this sensational production of SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN extended its run at the Chichester Festival Theatre in the UK due to unprecedented public demand, before transferring to the famous Palace Theatre in London in 2012. Now, after a sell-out West End season, unparalleled praise from critics and audiences alike, four Olivier Award nominations, and a major UK tour, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN is set to delight New Zealand audiences.
Set in 1927, it tells the story, made famous by Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds in the iconic 1952 MGM movie, of the first Hollywood musical, when the silver screen found its voice and left silent movies – and some of its stars – behind.
This spectacular production is packed full of the charm, romance, comedy and tinseltown glamour of one of the world’s best-loved movies and features all the songs from the glorious MGM score including Good Morning, Make ‘em Laugh, Moses Supposes and the classic Singin’ in the Rain.
The movie’s iconic choreography is flawlessly recreated, and with the help of 12,000 litres of water, the audience can enjoy one of the most famous dance routines live on stage, with some leaving the theatre a little wetter than when they arrived!
Presenter and CEO of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, James Cundall says, “This production of SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN was one of the hottest tickets in the West End during its run, and I’m sure it will generate the same buzz in Wellington and Auckland. I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to bring one of my favourite musicals to New Zealand audiences – this show is a winner because it sends people out of the theatre in the happiest of moods!”
Co-presenter Paul Dainty, Executive Chairman of Dainty Group, says, “SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN is the most brilliant comedy about the film industry. Egomaniac stars, monstrous film moguls, fickle fans, classic ‘golden-era’ choreography and slapstick comedies are all brilliantly included. There are floods of laughter and a drenching of big, colourful and remarkable musical numbers.”
To achieve the famous Singin’ In The Rain scene, the production uses half a mile of flexible pipe work, a 10 tonne water tank and a water system that creates a downpour from above as well as flooding from below the stage, in total ‘raining’ (and recycling) over 12,000 litres of water per performance.
Leading the cast of 27 is musical star Bethany Dickson, who recently took New Zealand by storm with her performance as Maria in The Sound of Music, and now returns to the stage as the wannabe actress Kathy. Making his debut in New Zealand as the charming Don Lockwood, is Grant Almirall, a seasoned star of musicals who recently triumphed in the role of Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys.
Don Lockwood is a silent movie star with everything he could want – fame, adulation and a well-publicised ‘romance’ with his co-star Lina Lamont. But Hollywood is about to change forever. There is rumour in the studio of a new kind of film, where the actors actually talk…and sing…and dance. Can Don and the uniquely voiced Lina make the transition and will chorus girl Kathy Selden fulfil her dream of stardom and capture Don’s heart along the way?
With high-energy choreography, sumptuous set design and costumes, a superb score and a joyous story, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN showers you with everything you could wish for in a hit musical.
“A night of sheer delight. The perfect pick-me-up” Daily Telegraph
“Hummable tunes, high-octane dancing, lots of rain” Financial Times
“A splash hit! Take cover as the cast kick up a storm” Daily Express
“Oh boy, this is an enjoyable evening which, at its best, simply soars” The Times
“Jonathan church’s production has feel-good factor galore” Daily Mail
“Exhilarating… with infectious brolly-twirling glee” Evening Standard
15 – 26 April, 2015
St James Theatre
1 – 24 May, 2015
Theatre , Musical , Dance ,
What a glorious evening
Review by Paul Simei-Barton 04th May 2015
With so many delightful moments leading up to the show’s iconic tune there is never any doubt that it’s going to be carried off in style – but Gene Kelly’s song and dance routine from the 1952 film has such legendary status that reproducing it on stage is not without risk.
Singin’ in the Rain floats on an intoxicating feeling of romantic euphoria that seems entirely spontaneous but making it work on stage means getting whole of host of things just right and this production has all its ducks perfectly aligned: [More]
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Cloudy, with a chance of Glorious Feeling
Review by James Wenley 03rd May 2015
“Raining live onstage!” shouts the poster. Play back Singin’ in the Rain’s most famous scene for a moment, Gene Kelly tap-splashing as only a man possessed by love (and a real life raging fever) can do. If there ever was a good argument for adapting the MGM film musical for the stage it would be the opportunity to see this iconic moment of care-free passion performed live. It does not disappoint. As gallons of water fall on his head, Grant Almirall’s Don Lockwood leaps, taps and twirls exuberantly on the flooded Civic Stage.
I’m filled with childlike joy as he makes his big splashes, sending a few a gallons worth of water into the front rows too for good measure, as he kicks to each cymbal clash. I overheard many people expressing being in the “splash zone” (with complimentary rain ponchos), looked like a heck of amount of fun. If only the rest of the show could have been as perfect as this scene. [More]
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Slapstick, cliché, cheese and ham with uniform brilliance
Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 03rd May 2015
If you let nostalgia wash over you and embrace this lavish depiction of Hollywood in 1927, a time when the industry is a whirl of uncertainty and insecurity as ‘talkies’ start replacing silent movies, then this honorable retelling of a simple upbeat love story, made famous by the 1952 MGM movie, will fully captivate your imagination.
In particular, when director Jonathan Church unleashes the extravagant company numbers, full of sass and style – with Andrew Wright’s high-octane choreography and Simon Higlett’s sumptuous set design and costumes, all precisely and beautifully lit by Tim Mitchell in a way that could simply be described as art – this production simply soars.
Add to that highly theatrical mix more than 12,000 litres of water and the ‘feel good’ factor in the audience is palpable.
Higlett’s grand design is impressive and intriguingly historically correct. For example, the famous sign on the hill is as per the original 1923 commission by the real estate agent who paid for it. His eye for detail is impeccable, no more so than in the gorgeous black and white film segments which, when combined with video director Ian William Galloway’s obvious sense of fun, are delicious to watch. Long self-indulgent kisses, unrealistic sword fighting and melodramatic swooning, combined with Musical Director Louis Zurnamer’s well-timed live orchestral accompaniment, cement the movie segments as absolute highlights.
Much respect goes to the cast for their effortless ensemble connection, as well as to every one of the 28 performers, for their full investment in their every move, step and note. The energy and hubbub of the opening, set ‘behind the scenes’ at a busy Hollywood studio, is particularly sensational. Church uses this gifted cast brilliantly as we move smoothly from scene to scene, so that the whole evening feels like a rolling journey, rather than a series of set ups.
In between the colourful company moments, all the leads are full of perk and have immense fun with the simple story line and comedy – which is pure slapstick, cliché, cheese and ham. Bethany Dickson, last seen here as Maria in The Sound of Music, is equally stunning in the role of Kathy Selden. Grant Almirall as Don Lockwood marks his NZ debut with a charming and joyful rendition of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’. Steven van Wyk as the irrepressible Cosmo Brown is sensational in ‘Make ‘em Laugh’ and is every bit the triple threat required to pull it off with polish and flair. When they combine for ‘Good Morning’, the fabulous three are pure sparkle.
Not to be out done by the dynamic trio, Taryn-Lee Hudson as the shrill Lina Lamont, gives a knockout performance. Acting out singing badly is extremely hard to do and Hudson absolutely nails it. Anne Power as Dora is suitably over the top; Kenneth Meyer is impressive as the dialect coach in ‘Moses Supposes’; James Borthwick as R F Simpson and Mark Richardson as Roscoe Dexter both fill their roles admirably. Finally, dancer Mila De Biaggi delivers a breath taking star performance during ‘Broadway Ballet’.
While initially intonation is an issue, the hard working orchestra does well with Larry Wilcox and Larry Blank’s complex score, which is brimming with notes, often played at an unrelenting pace.
What a wonderful thing it is to step back in time and fully appreciate the wonder of such a glamorous era. The opening night audience – who are attentive, appreciative and listening from the start – jump to their feet en masse for a well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the night. Because the most memorable moments of the night for me personally are when the full chorus is unleashed, I find it fitting that the finale, a rousing reprise of ‘Singin’ In the Rain’, stars the full company in uniform. Wearing the same costumes, dancing the same steps, these 28 fine performers, are uniformly brilliant.
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An exuberant, dazzling spectacle that explodes with excitement
Review by Laurie Atkinson 17th Apr 2015
Occasionally small gifts come with programmes. Ominously, a handy plastic poncho raincoat came with my programme for Singin’ in the Rain. Luckily it wasn’t needed in row J, but it might have been useful if I had been in the front two rows.
The highlight of the show and the climax of the first act is of course a staged version of one of the most famous and beloved of all scenes in movie history. [More]
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Wonderfully entertaining; beautifully true to the original film
Review by Jo Hodgson 17th Apr 2015
Right from the get go, this Lunchbox Theatrical Production is slick and full of energy. The ensemble hurry in and out during the excellently played overture setting the scene of the busy film set at the studio of Monumental Pictures.
Its 1927 and romantically linked – so the tabloids say – Don Lockwood (Grant Almirall) and Lina Lamont (Taryn-Lee Hudson) are the studio stars of the silent movie at a time when ‘talkies’ are about to burst forth onto the screen.
After a chance meeting with chorus girl/aspiring actor, Kathy Selden, (Bethany Dickson), Don Lockward falls in love, but Kathy is driven away by Lina’s jealousy and revenge.
During the filming of ‘The Dueling Cavalier”, the head of the studio R F Simpson (James Borthwick) announces that they will convert the film into a ‘talkie’ after the roaring success of a rival studios The Jazz Singer and they try to train Lina’s shrill and grating voice with farcical results.
Studio pianist Cosmo Brown (an engaging and very comical Steven van Wyk) comes up with the idea to make the movie into a musical, The Dancing Cavalier, and after Kathy reappears on the scene, they decide to use her voice to dub over Lina’s dreadful voice. Lina discovers this deception, sings the uproarious ‘What’s Wrong with Me?’ and tries to turn the tables on the studio to make Kathy continue to over-dub her voice in subsequent movies but her plan is foiled and she is exposed as a fraud to the public.
The story – both hilarious and charming – is brought to life on Simon Higlett’s sumptuous set with the ensemble seamlessly manoeuvring props and set pieces. Add in Tim Mitchell’s cleverly woven lighting design merged with the era-precise costumes, in what seems to me to follow the colour graduation of cinema’s technicolour development. The brilliant black-and-white silent movie pastiche, into the more muted grey and creams with small amounts of pastel colour appearing in chequered vests, chiffon frocks and window panes as if stylistically hand painted onto the film itself, through to the patriotic star-spangled shimmering of ‘Beautiful Girl’complete with Tiger Moth, to peak with the heightened bright futuristic colour of the magical and magnificent dream sequence in the ‘Broadway Ballet’/’Gotta Dance’. Special mention needs to be made of a sultry cabaret chair dance by the male ensemble and, I think, Mila De Biaggi.
There are so many memorable moments from the superb ensemble dancing, to the comic buffoonery in numbers like ‘Fit as a Fiddle’, ‘Make em’ Laugh’,and the thoroughly entertaining ‘Moses Supposes’. The camaraderie and obvious enjoyment these talented performers bring to show-stoppers like the tapping slapstick trio ‘Good Morning’, and the iconic, audience awaited (as shown by the cheers and applause) ‘Singin’ in the Rain’which isdanced fabulously by Grant Almirall – complete with 12000 litres of recycled water for the two times it is danced each performance: quite something to behold and fun for the poncho’d audience members in the splash zone too.
From the excellent band, to the mostly crisp clear balanced sound, this is a wonderfully entertaining evening of a story which stays beautifully true to the original film.
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