Grain Valley High School
Submitted for publication to KC Star Online
ALL I DO IS DREAM OF YOU
Big changes are happening in Hollywood. It's the roaring 1920's and the reign of silent films is coming to a close, due to a new piece of technology that breathes life into image, creating talking pictures, or, "talkies". This leaves silent actors with two choices: fight for your spotlight or step out of it. A love letter to the early days of Hollywood's Golden Age, Bishop Miege High School presents SINGIN' IN THE RAIN.
SINGIN' IN THE RAIN is the 1983 stage adaptation of the 1952 movie of the same title, both with story by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, music by Nacio Herb Brown, and lyrics by Arthur Freed. While not a smash hit during its beginnings, it has grown to be seen as a classic. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN gives insight into the lives of a Hollywood superstar, a stage actress, and a vaudeville performer as the three endeavor to save the silent film flop that is The Dueling Cavalier by converting it into a talkie and fixing another problem: the film's lead actress.
Evan Parra emanates the grandeur of the leading role, acclaimed actor Don Lockwood, with his portrayal. With a smooth baritone voice and his impressive tap-dancing skills, Parra proves himself to be a real "Oliver Twist." Don's love interest, Kathy Seldan, portrayed by Johanna Quigley, is a stage performer who is making her way onto the screen. Quigley showcases complete command over her stunning voice; her dynamic range embraces the wild nature of the Jazz Age, yet flows with elegance and grace. The mastery Quigley displays with her voice sets an example for excellence.
Lending support and comedic relief is Don's pal Cosmo Brown (Kevin Hannon), a vaudeville actor and pianist for Don's films. Hannon demonstrates complete control over his performance, an astounding feat when considering that he simultaneously sings with bright energy, executes a complex tap routine, and subjects himself to Charlie Chaplin-esque slapstick comedy. Being a dope never took so much precision, and Hannon never falters. Also serving the comedy is Lina Lamont (Sophia Nordling), Don's co-star who is not taking the transition into talkies well. You see, the problem with Lina, other than her ego, is her voice. Nordling embraces the comedic flaws of Lina, illustrating her oblivious stupor with her posh physicality and shrill voice. All in all, Hannon and Nordling never fail to make �em laugh. Finally, each musical number features tap-dancing, which requires immense precision, but this ensemble handles this with ease, never failing to make a performance spectacular.
As well as wonderful performances, Bishop Miege High School exercises strength behind the scenes. The lighting crew, for example, utilizes soft tones that flow beautifully through each and every emotion, while still setting the atmosphere. Those responsible for the hair and makeup aid in creating the atmosphere with hairstyles successfully reflecting the flapper girl style popular in the Jazz Age.
There are moments in the production where microphones produce feedback, but this does not distract the audience, as actors keep scenes lively with strong stage business, speedy transitions, and consistent characterization.
There's never a dull moment on Bishop Miege High School's stage. With captivating performers, precise crews, and wonderfully timed humor, this production of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN most definitely steps out of a dream.
Lee's Summit High School
Submitted for publication to Daily Journal
A TIPPITY TAPPIN' GOOD TIME
Bishop Miege High School charms audiences with the loveable classic, SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. From clacking tap shoes to twirling umbrellas, actors dance their way into the hearts of many through the entirety of their bright, energetic performance.
Based on the 1952 movie, SINGIN' IN THE RAIN first premiered in 1983 as a stage musical written by Betty Comden with music from Nacio Herb Brown. It follows the story of Don Lockwood and his co-star, Lina Lamont, as they embark into the world of talking films. However, Lina's jarring voice is no match for the undiscovered Kathy Selden, who Don is in love with. Now, they must deal with Lina's diva demands while still trying to make a career with Kathy's abundance of talent.
Stealing the show as the bright, young Kathy Selden is Johanna Quigley. With a crisp voice that rings like bells, precise tap dancing skills, and a dazzling smile always on her face, she is the triple threat that defines what it means to be a star. Bringing the charm is the goofy and charismatic Cosmo Brown, played by Kevin Hannon. Also a triple threat, he shows off his skills in the energy-filled "Make 'Em Laugh." Staying in character no matter what happens, he taps around the stage with a vigor that grabs the attention of anyone watching.
Providing a very special element to the show is the most impressive tap dancing, well-executed by many members of the cast. In both solo and ensemble moments, dancers perform tap numbers with precision and skill that would make it appear that all performers have been trained for a lengthy period of time. In "Good Mornin'", Quigley, Hannon, and Evan Parra as Don Lockwood bring to life a dance break with their splendid, in-time tapping. The ensemble joins in on the fun in "Singin' in the Rain", where the whole stage is filled with feet shuffling and tapping in rhythmic unison. Dedication shines through as many cast members take on this more complicated, delightful form of dance.
Taking audiences back in time is the hair and makeup, designed perfectly to capture the age of flapper dresses and silent films. Riley Hagen and Maren O'Connell create scrupulous time period hairstyles that are uniform across all of the actresses. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN would not be complete without the old-fashioned films, and these are brought to life through the work of Katherine Winklhofer, David Lauterwasser, Joey Vogt, and Moira Sutherlin. Complete with the classic dated script, black and white pictures, and just a touch of comedy, the old days of motion pictures are brought to life through the work of these students.
People young and old can come together for a night of song and dance through Bishop Miege High School's production of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. From high-energy tap numbers to sweet love songs, there is something for everyone in this classic musical. Come see for yourself, you will surely leave the theatre with a hop in your step and a song in your head!
Lee's Summit High School
Submitted for publication to The Pitch
MAKE 'EM LAUGH, MAKE 'EM SING
Tap dancing, sweater vests, and silent movies - how much more 20s can you get? The show SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, put on by Bishop Miege High School, is a boisterous, colorful performance filled with all the exciting new norms from the time period.
As movies are getting more popular and technology is expanding, 1920s actors and film producers are being forced to develop with the times. Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont, co-stars that the public raves about, are attempting to make a movie with sound. However, with new technology comes new difficulties of all levels.
Johanna Quigley (playing Kathy Seldan - the love interest of Don) captures the audience's attention from the moment she steps on the stage. Her incredible facial expressions far exceed any expectation as she demonstrates a full range of emotions - from disgust, to fear, to ecstasy - in only a few seconds. Kevin Hannon as Cosmo Brown, a music writer, adds a spectacular humorous touch in the song "Make 'Em Laugh," where he bounds across the stage performing somersaults and tricks to demonstrate, quite literally, the importance of making the audience laugh.
Sophia Nordling as Lina Lamont uses an impeccable high-pitched, "dumb blonde" character voice throughout the show. She continues it even through her solo song with an incredible vocal technique that stays true to her character. Paul Ruf, playing a voice teacher and a featured dancer, makes incredible use of few lines. His character gets swept away unwillingly into a tap number, and it is clear to the whole audience that he would much rather be doing vocal warmups - but as soon as he gets involved in the number, he gives a stunning tap-dance performance.
Throughout the show, an incredible amount of choreography, mainly tap dancing, is performed. In ensembles of 15 or more people as well as in small duets or solos, the footwork is exceptionally precise. In the song "Moses Supposes," three of the actors jump up and down on chairs and tables while tapping in perfect unison for the entire number.
Since the musical takes place in a film setting, the special effects team, including Katherine Winklhofer, David Lauterwasser, Moria Sutherlin, and Joey Vogt, uses a pre-filmed video to simulate being at the movies. The video uses the same settings and costumes as the corresponding scenes that the actors perform and adds time-period music and a grainy filter to give the full "silent movie" effect.
The magic of the movies is something special loved by everyone involved, and the best way to experience the excitement of showbiz is by watching it from where it began. Bishop Miege High School's performance of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN will leave you laughing, singing, and dancing!